At Wild Oak Explorers, our mission is to provide a nature enrichment program where children are free to explore and take risks as they learn about their local flora, fauna, and community, while inspiring a life long dedication to environmental stewardship.
Wild Oak Explorers was developed out of a need for natural play based education in our community. There is a growing concern that today's children are deprived of nature immersion experiences. We strive to provide those experiences and reconnect children and their families to the natural world by playing together in nature regularly.
We create an “invisible” curriculum that focuses on engagement with the natural world through handiwork, journaling, and mostly play. Through self-directed play, children engage with the natural world on their own terms which is important for them to have an authentic connection to nature; true connection comes from within oneself and not imposed from a teacher. Our skilled mentors keep children safe, cooperative, and create opportunities that appear spontaneous and random to students.
The program is inspired by the Forest Kindergarten model, Montessori, Reggio, and most importantly, Nature. We are a nature-connection recreation program. "Forest School" indicates that our approach and values relate to how we guide children's experiences of learning, growth, exploration, and discovery align with the Forest School philosophy.
We believe positive relationships with our families and friends in a diverse community are central to meaningful learning.
"Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees." Forest School Association.
Key Principles of our Approach
Play-based and flexible curriculum
Nature immersion in a variety of weather
Study of the natural world and local habitats
Building self-belief and resilience
Wild Oak Explorers is a supplementary enrichment program for homeschool children and is not licensed or accredited as a school or child care facility.
A day in the life
Morning Circle - We begin our day welcoming, sharing, and joining each other while greeting the day with enthusiasm
Hike through the Woods - Children hike through the woods with a guide, often identifying plants, observing changing aspects in nature, finding animals and their tracks, and much more
Trail Snack - We gather for a healthy snack and a drink of water, making sure to be mindful and tune into our senses - the sounds, smells and sights in our place, in that moment.
Free Play -Children may build a fort or use tools, track animals, measure shadows, investigate an anthill, climb a tree, get involved in an open ended art/invention project, create mud kitchen delicacies or any other of a number of possibilities. that occur with immersion in nature
Clean Up/ Prepare to leave - Everyone takes responsibility for their belongings and helping one another so we leave our space clean and neat.
Closing Circle - We gather together again to recap on our favorite moments of the day, give thanks for our time in nature, and see our friends off.
*Mentors are present throughout the day to maintain safety and offer resources, to invisibly guide and foster each child’s discovery of his or her own gifts and passions, and to create a vessel for building their relationship with the natural world, themselves, and each other.
Founder & Guide