Forest School

"Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls." 
                                      ~ Erin Kenny
                                      Founder of Cedarsong Nature School
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In the fall of 2014, Painted Oak Nature School became the first preschool in Mercer county, NJ to offer a nature immersion program inspired by the waldkindergartens of Germany. And now going into our 9th year, having been recently registered as a private school, PONS is the first elementary school in the state to include a Forest School model at the heart of its work. Research continues to support that connecting children to the natural world benefits their bodies, minds, and spirits. 

Forest School begins once the children have geared up and shopped for tools, nature journals, field guides, or art supplies on the forest shelves. We leave school, walk through our Backyard, and organize ourselves at the trailhead. With a gentle song, following the hike line, we enter Gnome Woods with owl eyes on and fox ears open all the way to Base Camp.

 

During the time our classes spend in the forest, any, or all, of the following is enjoyed:

     - climbing trees          - creating Earth arts           - listening to birds             - tracking animals      - nature journaling             - building shelters             - playing games         - wild edible snacks with pine needle tea       

Summer Forest School

Monday - Friday

9am-12pm for children ages 3 - 6 years old @ Painted Oak (2 groups will run at site balancing the ages)

9:30am-12:30pm for children ages 5 - 10 years old @ Washington Crossing State Park (1 group will run at site)

group size limited to 10 children with 2 adult guides

Weekly Summer 2021 Sessions  

$275 per child, per week

Week 1: July 5 - July 9               3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL        

Week 2: July 12 - July 16            3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL     

Week 3:   July 19 - July 23          3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL     

Week 4: July 26 - July 30           3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL

Week 5: August 2 - August 6     3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL   

Week 6: August 9 - August 13   3-6 year olds OPEN,      5-10 yr olds SESSION is FULL   

If a week you wanted to register for is full

sign up for the waitlist here!

  • Camp will be held at the Painted Oak campus from 9am-12pm for 3-6 year olds and at Washington Crossing Park, NJ from 9:30am-12:30am for 5-10 year olds.

  • Children must be toilet proficient

  • Priority is given to children enrolled at PONSregistration opens to general public mid-February

  • 100% outside, in all weather

  • Masks are not required outside however it is highly recommended that your child wear a face covering when close to other children.  If we need to come inside the building at any point, due to hazardous weather, children will be required to wear masks.

  • Our complete COVID19 protocols can be found here.

Forest School Immersion (afternoon enrichment)

1pm-3pm for children ages 3 - 6 years old

class size limited to 10-12 children with 2-3 adult guides

2020-2021 Sessions

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays , AND/OR Friday afternoons

SPRING:

$600 per session (12 classes)

Monday: March 8 - June 7  SESSION IS FULL

Tuesday: March 9 - June 1  SESSION IS FULL

Wednesday:  March 10 - June 9 SESSION IS FULL

Thursday: March 18 - June 10 SESSION IS FULL

Friday: March 12 - June 4 SESSION IS FULL

If a day you wanted to register for is full

sign up for the waitlist here!

  • children must be fully toilet proficient

  • children enrolled in the morning Nature Preschool at PONS may register in addition to children who do not regularly attend Nature Preschool

  • 100% outside, in all weather

  • Masks are not required outside however it is highly recommended that your child wear a face covering when close to other children.  If we need to come inside the building at any point, due to hazardous weather, children will be required to wear masks.

  • Our complete COVID19 protocols can be found here.