“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”
At Ambleside Christian Academy's forest school program, we strive to help students fully appreciate nature and benefit from its study by blending scientific inquiry and artistic expression to give a well-rounded baseline of experience for students that will serve them well with more formal study of the sciences in later years. Our motto is, "Explore, Inquire, Care!"
Explore. Authentic learning occurs through unstructured play, adventure, and
wandering. We meet at parks around the south St. Louis County area to expose our students to the various elements of God’s creation. This leads our students to make first-hand observations in the moment and to hone their powers of observation.
Inquire. Questions arise in the moments and places we are. The children start to sense the wonder and beauty of the world around them. They then start to pursue the order and perplexity that is God's creation. The investigations develop and lead to experimentation and research and the formation of hypotheses.
Care. We strive for our students to understand that they are stewards of the world around them. They learn to use the resources at hand wisely to provide protection for a future time and to cherish others and to display consideration for all of God's creation.
Day: Wednesdays, Labor Day=Memorial Day*
Time: 10:00am - 2:30pm
Location: Parks around the St. Louis area
*We'll take a week off for Thanksgiving and three weeks for Christmas.
What a day at forest school looks like!
In the mornings, our entire forest school group stays together. We arrive and have free play which sometimes includes P.E. games. We then have circle time which includes discussions on current topics and folksongs before we all head out for a hike or exploration of an area! After our hike, we sit and eat lunch together!
Pre-K in the afternoon finds a place to explore and play in. It could be a creek, a fort of trees, mud play...you never know! They may participate in an activity like leaf threading, making bird feeders, method art, and more. They also make a nature journal entry using a variety of art materials!
Elementary in the afternoon finds an area to explore to dive into a little scientific inquiry on a topic like isopods, evergreens, or mushrooms. They may work on a handicraft, learn to use a compass or keep track of the different animals they find, or have some art instruction. They also use their experiences to add to their nature journals!
Upper elementary/middle school in the afternoon goes a little more in depth in their scientific inquiry. They may catch and study animals, create topographical maps, learn how to start a fire, or study the local history! They also get more detailed art instruction and make entries in their nature journals. You never know how many experiences they will come home to tell you about!