"Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls."
~ Erin Kenny
Founder of Cedarsong Nature School
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 - 9 years old
class size limited to 10 children
Weekly Summer Sessions:
children must be toilet proficient
priority is given to children enrolled at PONS for the 2021-2022 school year
registration opens to general public mid-February
$250 per child, per week
Camp will be held at the Painted Oak campus
Forest School Immersion (afternoon enrichment)
1pm-3pm for children ages 3 - 6 years old
class size limited to 10 children with 2-3 adult guides
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays , OR Friday afternoons;
12 classes $600/session
Fall: September 8 - December 10 (12 classes)
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
DCF COVID-19 guidelines will be implemented as much as possible
masks are not required for children unless we go indoors due to hazardous weather
Add your name to the waitlist if the class
you hoped to join is full.