A movement has started....
And you can be a part of it!
In 2007, right here in Washington, the very first Forest School opened in the United States. Since then, more and more parents are interested in having their children be part of what could possibly be the biggest shift in educational models since the advent of public education! The day spent completely outside, learning from mother nature and compassionate teachers utilizing a holistic model of childhood education.
Timber Creek sets itself apart from other nature based schools because the farm and forest are an integral part of the lives of the founders; the property is their homestead and they consider every child that attends to be family. Their own 5 children have grown up at Timber Creek and were the original inspiration for this labor of love. They have watched and felt the farm and forest evolve into a magical place full of love, peace, joy and understanding.
The entire school day is spent outdoors on a beautiful 6 acres of woodland, wetland and farmland environment. Children learn through experience and observation, following their own interests and imaginations while being guided with compassionate connection. They make new friends, explore, learn how to inquire, build communication skills, learn self discipline and deepen self awareness.
What the Studies say...
A recent study by psychologists at the University of Colorado shows an even stronger reason for free play: children who experienced more undirected free play showed signs of stronger executive function, a strong predictor of success in school. “The more time that children spent in less-structured activities,” wrote researchers, “the better their self-directed executive functioning.”
Physically acting out knowledge to be learned or problems to be solved makes the conceptual metaphors employed by our brains a literal reality.
“Because kids are not growing up playing outdoors on their own, they haven’t learned how to solve their own problems.” -Peter Grey, Developmental Psychologist
“In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.” - Angela Hanscom, Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Benefits of Nature Immersion
Work together more cooperatively
Better observation skills
Exhibit more patience, compassion and empathy
More effectively assess risk
Better language development due to the multi-sensory experience of an outdoor environment
Improved balance, coordination and fine motor skills
How Do We Teach?
We do not teach standard or structured lessons but instead recognize that children are curious and intelligent by nature and will follow their interests in a focused and inquiring manner. Children learn very quickly this way. We utilize 'inquiry led' learning by offering opportunities where they can seek answers for themselves and by giving strategies for new discoveries.
The pulse of the day is led by the children and whatever the season brings. In the fall that may mean working dirt in the winter squash garden, in spring that's forest hikes, seed planting and hatching baby chicks, in winter it's fort building to create hide-a-way and in summer that could mean water play and picking flowers.
Throughout our day we also incorporate music; singing, guitar, drums and harmonica to name a few!
Each day is special because it will never be the same as the day before.
"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers