Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nature School?
Nature School is an education that takes place in the outdoors that focuses on learning from the earth and connecting to the earth. The pedagogy emphasizes inquiry-based learning through play and hands-on discovery. Typically Nature and Forest schools spend at least 30% of their day in the outdoors. We spend 100% of our day outside activating our senses, and enjoying all the wonder and change that comes with each special season!
Why Wasatch Nature School & why outdoor education?
Our goal is to help children cultivate a love of the natural world at an early age in order to enhance their mental, physical, and social well-being. We invite children to explore, play, and interact with nature in a way that boosts their creativity and problem solving skills. When children are allowed to follow their own interests in a hands-on environment, children retain and process learning more readily.
What curriculum do you use?
We use "Exploring Nature With Children" for our nature studies. This curriculum includes nature walks, nature journaling, songs, poetry, art, and hands-on experiences related to the outdoors. The children are encouraged to use all of their senses to invite more inquiry and curiosity. For academics, we use "Learning Dynamics" and "Zoophonics." These systems help children develop language and comprehension skills through activities that teach sequencing, rhyming, classification, same/different, opposites, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and an introduction to blending.
Is Nature School a good fit for every family?
While everyone benefits from time spent out in nature, a nature school program may not be a good fit for every child or family. We are committed first to the safety of all students, so we do require that every student be able to follow directions and ALWAYS stay with the class, no exceptions.
There are many variables that can affect whether or not a nature school program will work with your little one (ie. a child's previous time and experience in nature, a child's readiness to be away from their family, a child's ability to connect with their teacher and obey our safety rules, etc...). Nature school is also a bit more of a commitment for parents - from driving time to and from school, to committing wholeheartedly to dressing your child in appropriate all-weather gear. There is a lot to consider - every family and child are different and have different needs at different times in their development.
Are the classes always outside?
We hold classes outside all year long, even in the winter! In fact, the winter months are one of our favorite times of the year to be outside! We educate our families on how to properly dress their children to keep them comfortable during their time with us. We believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. If temperatures drop below 22 degrees with wind chill factored in, or if extreme weather conditions occur we will close school for the day or go indoors if absolutely necessary. This is a very rare occasion and typically only happens 2-3 times per school year.
What time of year does Wasatch
Nature School operate?
We offer Nature Preschool (ages 3-5), Forest Kindergarten (age 5-6), and Advanced Nature Study classes (age 6-12) from August through May, and summer camps for ages 3-8 in June and July.
How much is school tuition?
Tuition varies depending on the class. For our 2021-22 classes the prices are listed below:
3 days a week preschool is $240/month
2 days a week preschool is $160/month
Advanced Nature Study is $80/month
Forest Kindergarten is $175/month.
For current class pricing for the 2020-21 school year please inquire via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I schedule a school visit?
Yes, Absolutely! You may schedule a 30-minute school visit by emailing: email@example.com.
Where can I find the fall schedule?
Our Fall schedule can be found under our 'Classes and Pricing' Tab at the top of this page.
What age group does Wasatch Nature School serve?
We serve preschoolers (ages 3-5), Kindergarteners (ages 5-6), and children ages 6-12 for our advanced nature study class.
What clothes and gear will my child need?
We explore areas with tree branches, grasses, puddles, bugs, and mud. Children need to wear rainboots daily in the fall and spring and a full insulated snowsuit with layers in the winter including a warm hat, waterproof mittens, wool socks (recommended), and insulated, waterproof snow boots.
We firmly believe in the mantra, "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."
Helping your child dress comfortably for the weather and role modeling a positive attitude about all different types of weather are the two things you can do to set your child up for success in our programs.
Base Layers Recommendations:
Smart Wool: https://www.smartwool.com
Ella's Wool: https://ellaswool.com/
What about when it rains/is cold/is hot?
When it rains we will have class outside--with umbrellas and puddle jumping!
When it is cold, we will have class with snowmen, sledding, and snow forts!
When it is hot, we will have class--often with water play and shady hideouts!.
In the rare case of severe weather where it would not be safe for us to be outside class will be cancelled, or we will use our indoor shelter available at both our Provo and Vineyard locations.
How big are the classes?
Our preschool classes have a capacity of 16 students. Each class has 2 teachers. For the majority of the school day the class is split into smaller groups of 8. Our forest kindergarten class will be capped at 12 students with 2 teachers. Our classes will never go over the 1:8 ratio.