A Bit About Us
A Magical Learning Environment
The Oak Rose Forest School provides an enriched and magical learning environment for our students. Founded in 2021, our Forest School is located in the Western Catskills on the land of the Lenni Lenape tribe at The Sanctuary, an indigenous healing center, bee, pollinator and food forest sanctuary. Our environment reflects the beautiful energy and intention of this land, as well as the various backgrounds and cultures of the area, the community caregivers, and wild-life. Our teachers are passionate, progressive and experienced in providing a safe space for child-led learning through play, discovery, and connection with nature.
At the Oak Rose Forest School, we do our best to develop autonomy, curiosity & courage in our students. We believe that joy, awe, wonder and a connection to nature and its elements is greatly important for students to access their own inner wisdom, empathy and intrinsic drive to learn. For us, emotional learning, regulation, and healthy social relationships are of great importance & a crucial foundation for any other learning to take place.
We combine our backgrounds in Waldorf eduction and traditional forest schooling, indigenous wisdom, story telling and myth to weave the curriculum for our program. Our program takes place in all types of weather outdoors.
We believe that childhood should be joyfull and wholesome; that the earliest, most memorable kind of learning includes climbing trees, catching frogs, making mud pies, and mixing potions.
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Empowering a Generation of Earth Stewards
Our mission is to empower a generation of earth stewards, encouraging autonomy, sovereignty and child-led learning through play.
Our primary purpose is to provide children with a safe place to be themselves, to imagine, connect and explore. We create an educational environment and atmosphere that meets children where they are, gives them the power of choice, and stimulates their imaginations and natural state of joy and wonder. Our programs are intended to empower students to tackle challenges and take on experiences that may be new to them. We give them freedom of expression within a form and structure that creates balance, empathy and allows for child-directed learning, and a natural development of the self. All of our curriculum, activities and objectives are developmentally appropriate, and the well-being of the whole child as a unique individual is paramount.
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Child-Centered Learning Through Play
Our educational philosophy underscores our commitment to child-centered learning. Educators guide students in a natural environment as children ask questions, express curiosity or concern, and show enthusiasm towards discoveries. Students experiment, problem-solve, and explore with their senses. Students voice opinions and express ideas through language and the arts. Students develop friendships and learn from one another through cooperative play. In other words, students actively participate in all aspects of learning!
We integrate many approaches to support each child’s learning and growth by: providing a supportive, safe learning environment to encourage discovery, questioning and experimentation; offering sensory opportunities with live animals, natural objects, artifacts, trail games, outdoor interpretation, and creative arts activities; engaging cognitive growth and problem solving skills through hands-on games and activities; developing physical motor skills through active learning and play; promoting social skills and positive self-image through group play, cooperative learning, and appropriate risk-taking; cultivating empathy through discussion and celebrating diversity of all living things; nurturing self expression and creativity through arts, singing, storytelling, and reflective time in nature; encouraging family involvement through community celebrations, and visits, to help students appreciate the wisdom of their first teachers — their families; partnering with parents to celebrate their child’s gifts and best-meet the needs of each child in our care; instilling respect and appreciation for the natural world and teaching children to "leave no trace" when exploring outside.
Myth & Indigenous Education
Honoring the Ancestors & the Land
We believe that myth is one the oldest ways we as humans have learned to understand our world, build empathy and connections, and access inner wisdom and creativity. In our program, we learn about and read different creation myths from all different cultures to spark curiosity and to build cultural awareness. We use the power of myth to show the belonging of each subject to one another, and the interconnectedness of everything and how things mirror one another. We engage in land acknowledgement, and teach respect and gratitude practices for all plants, animals, elements, and people. We encourage students to ask the big questions that myths seek to answer to foster wonder, curiosity, problem solving skills, imagination and thoughtfulness.