What we Learn at Knox Forest School
Beyond the mere recognition of letters and numbers (hard skills), we focus on the soil of a child's learning (soft skills) that will carry with them throughout life:
Curiosity, Exploration & Connection with Nature
- Rachel Carson says that within every kid is an innate naturalist, but that this naturalist must be nurtured and guided by adults. At Knox Forest School, we take time to explore nature with our kids. This gives them confidence in their own scientific inquiry and trust in their own reflections.
- By giving space to the kids to "roam and find" we instill the search so important to curiosity and invention.
- With over 400 acres available to us to roam and explore, we never reach the boundaries of our land, so exploration is truly engrained at our site.
- Our teachers are trained in naturalist knowledge and wilderness observation skills in order to start our kiddos on their educational journey.
- Much of our teaching takes place in the midst of song and dance. We sing songs about rain, mud, caterpillars, ice, snow, clouds, the five senses, etc. By singing and moving, learning is instilled in a fun-filled, artful way. We often hear the kids singing while they play. We love this!
Collaboration & Compassion
- We believe that social education is paramount. So we focus much of our time on how we treat one another. We talk about friendship circles, response to injury, helping a neighbor when they need it, listening to each voice as "super important."
- When someone falls or cries, we teach our kids to reach out and ask, "Are you okay? Can I help you?"
- When kids are shunned, we take the time to talk about the friendship circle and why we care for everyone.
- We direct negative emotions and encounters into more positive ones because love is the greatest thing there is.
- We take the time to talk about compassion, rather than demanding it, so that the kids understand the social choices they are making.
- We encourage group building projects that require each doing their part. Kids naturally want to build things in groups.
Confidence, Risk assessment, Awareness & Resilience (GRIT!)
- Risk assessment is integral to a child's learning and confidence. Often, in our learning environments, we put up fences around all danger because we are afraid to let our kids explore risk. Studies have proven that allowing kids an environment with mediated risks actually builds great confidence and self-awareness needed in order to boost imagination and invention.
- Body awareness is also a very huge focus at our school. We have a low teacher to student ratio (1:5). This ensures that we can be vigilillantly watching and waiting for opportunity to both make sure the kiddos are taking proper risks and also coaching them through taking new risks. This could be climbing a tree higher than ever before, or walking through a stream, or balancing on a log, or exploring a new part of the forest, or reaching out to a new friend. We love seeing them stretch and grow.