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Forest School

"Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls." 
     ~ Erin Kenny
   Co-Founder of Cedarsong Nature School (the first US Forest Kindergarten, 2007)
Forest Immersion students hike through the forest.
Forest Immersion, ages 4-8
Wednesday, 1:30pm-3:00pm @ Painted Oak Nature School

class size limited to 10 children with 2 adult guides

2023-2024 Sessions -

TBe Determined

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. Now, in our 10th year, and having been recently registered as a private school, PONS is the first elementary and middle 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 across the Big Field, and organize ourselves at the trailhead. With a gentle song, following the hike line, we enter Fallen Forest 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       

  • children must be fully toilet proficient

  • children who are not enrolled at Nature Preschool are welcome and encouraged to attend Forest Immersion

  • 100% outside, in all weather

  • Forest Immersion is held at our home campus in Hopewell, NJ.

Summer Forest School, ages 3-10

Monday - Friday, 9am-12pm @ Washington Crossing State Park, NJ

  • Children must be toilet proficient

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

  • 100% outside, in all weather. Park pavilions will be utilized in the event of lightning and/or high winds.

  • Masks are not required outside, however we will be expected to follow current masking guidelines set by the park. If we need to go inside any of the buildings at any point, due to hazardous weather, children may be required to wear masks.

Thank you!

Weekly Summer 2023 Sessions 

$275 per child, per week              

Week 1: July 10 - July 14                         

Week 2: July 17 - July 21                    

Week 3:   July 24 - July 28  

Week 4: July 31 - August 4              

Week 5: August 7 - August 11      

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