Loblolly Forest School is a play-based and place-based outdoor early childhood education program for children ages 3-6 in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Come forth into the light of things;
let nature be your teacher.
- William Wordsworth
We believe that play is both an ideal and essential instrument for learning in early childhood, and we honor the magic and wonder of childhood through songs, stories, creative art, and uninhibited play. Our teaching and learning philosophy is rooted in the European Forest Kindergarten model, and we also gain inspiration from the principles of Montessori, Reggio-Emilia, Waldorf, and other child-centered pedagogies. Our highly-trained educators play the role of “guide on the side” versus “sage on the stage.” Teachers observe, inspire, and gently guide children’s play to promote developmentally-appropriate growth. Our emergent curriculum leads us to follow the children, sometimes quite literally, off the path to new discoveries.
Within the place-based model of learning children return to the same beloved land again and again to feel at home, witness the magic of seasons, and make space for deep and complex play. We share our outdoor classroom with Loblolly pines, heirloom gardens, fruit trees, chickens, and a trio of playful goats at Growing Minds Educational Farm in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Our space is ever-evolving, with additions like mud kitchens, water stations, loose parts play, and our own garden.
We believe it takes a village to raise a child, and therefore we are a cooperative, which means that when families enroll in our year-long program they contribute a certain number of volunteer hours per semester. Options include spending a day in class as a Forest Friend, sharing special talents or skills as a Visiting Villager, helping with classroom projects and trail maintenance, assisting with administrative tasks, etc.
We model and seek to instill concepts of compassion, community, and stewardship through our authentic experiences with the natural world. Our students dig in the dirt, climb trees, sing in the sun, dance in the rain, feed chickens, build fairy houses, plant tomatoes, sweep goat pens, tend gardens, identify birds, and observe the ebb and flow of the seasons. Every day is a new adventure at Loblolly Forest School. Come outside and play!
Location: Growing Minds Educational Farm (Mt. Pleasant, SC)
Ages: 3-6 (must be potty trained)
Schedule: M-F, 9:00am - 1:00pm
School Year: September 16, 2019 - May 22, 2020
Teacher/student ratio: 1:6
Maximum Capacity: 20 students
Admission: Rolling until we reach capacity!
Flexible! You may choose 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days per week (although we encourage at least 2 to provide the most opportunity for growth for the student)
1 Day per Week: $125/month
2 Days per Week: $250/month
3 Days per Week: $375/month
4 Days per Week: $500/month
5 Days per Week: $625/month
All families are asked to contribute 8 hours of volunteer time per semester.
Forest Friend (spend a day in class assisting lead teacher); Visiting Villager (sharing relevant skill during class, i.e. handicraft, outdoor cooking, etc); trail maintenance; outdoor classroom projects (building, etc.); administrative tasks; other ideas welcome
We want our program to be accessible to all. As we grow we hope to offer scholarships for families who are unable to meet our financial requirements. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
A Day at a Glance
As our curriculum is ever-evolving, this is just a rough guide to what a day might look like.
9:00 Arrival, Nature Play
9:30 Welcome Circle (songs, sharing, noticing nature, questions of the day)
10:00 Farm Chores and Nature Play
11:00 Daily Adventure and Nature Play
12:00 Campfire (circle song/story/game)
12:15 Lunch/Nature Notes/Sit Spots
12:55 Closing circle
See For Yourself!
Take a Tour
See a class in action as you learn more about our program! All prospective students are required to meet onsite with the director. Tours are offered weekly on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. Email to schedule yours.
Join us for an Open Forest Day!
Approximately once a season we offer our version of an "open house" when prospective families can come tour our outdoor classrooms, meet some of our teachers and parents of current students, learn about our offerings, and find out if our school is a fit for your little learner. Spaces are limited and reservations are required!
NEXT OPEN FOREST DAY: Saturday, November 9, 2019