Little Forest Folk

Little Forest FolkTM

Thank you for your interest.

We do not have a start date for this program yet. Please check back for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Little Forest Folk is guided by the principles of a "forest school" educational model.
What does that mean?

To follow a “forest school” model, nature must be at the heart of the program. It must be based on high quality early childhood education and environmental education practices, and must also help build a foundation for environmental literacy. Children will spend their days outside in the natural world, rather than confined to four walls.


What age does my child need to be to participate in Little Forest Folk?

Children must be 3.5 years old prior to the start of the program and cannot turn 5 years old prior to the first day. Birth dates must fall between 3/1/15 - 8/31/13. All children must be fully potty-trained in order to participate.


Will my child really be outside in all weather?

YES! There is an old saying that goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. This couldn’t be more true and we will really be depending on YOU to make sure your child comes to Woodcock properly dressed and ready to go!


Will my child engage in risky and challenging play?

YES! One of the many reasons modern parents are attracted to forest school programming is because of the nostalgic images that come to mind of children climbing trees, building forts, catching frogs, crossing a stream, skipping rocks and so on. These were everyday activities for generations of children across the world, but for a variety of reasons, children are no longer able to flex their “risk muscles”, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. We want to bring back developmentally appropriate challenges that allow children to use self-regulation. It is important for you as a parent to realize that while there are some risks involved in a forest school program, the benefits typically far outweigh any potential dangers. We strongly encourage you to do your own research and reading on the subject.


Will my child use tools and enjoy campfires?

YES! Learning eye-hand coordination, risk-taking and attention are a few of the benefits that come from learning how to use a tool, such as a whittling knife. We do not introduce children to “real” tools until they have demonstrated the ability to listen, pay attention and sit patiently. Being ready to use real tools will take some time, weeks or even months. We start with tools such as magnifying glasses, rope, compasses, tweezers, etc. These items are introduced in a way that separates them from toys and an expectation is set that children will use them carefully and with respect. Once it is determined that a child is ready to responsibly use a tool, an adult will always be at their side.


Is reading, writing and math taught formally at Little Forest Folk?

Yes & No. We believe in using place, change-of-season, and child interest as the primary “lessons” for our students and complex learning will often occur throughout our day. Some examples might be: counting with acorns, writing words with sticks in the mud, reading a book in a shady spot, or using wooden letters to spell words out. Research is now beginning to show that children who attend forest school programs in their early years usually arrive to elementary school much better prepared to learn, and often out perform their non-forest school peers!


It looks like they are just playing. What are they learning?

Play is a very important learning tool for children up to seven years old. Children learn social skills, build self-confidence, develop their own identity, and role playing (which develops compassion). Through play children learn complex lessons around math and literacy, physics (“when I add water, the dirt turns to mud”), and personal awareness (“I need to take my jacket off because I have been running around and now I’m hot)”, “I’m hungry, is it snack time?”).The benefit of allowing children to learn while immersed in a forest, is that their learning has real world context.


How will my child use the bathroom at Little Forest Folk?

Each morning before we head out for the day everyone will have the chance to use the bathroom in our building. Once we are out in the forest for the day children can choose to use the forest or can be walked back to use the facilities in the nature center.


Will this program help prepare my child for Kindergarten?

Yes! Children who attend our program will gain life and Kindergarten readiness skills including:

  • Emotional balance

  • Self-motivation

  • Creativity

  • Imagination

  • Peer Communication

  • Self-esteem

  • Self-awareness

  • Empathy

  • Self-regulation


Is there parent involvement at Little Forest Folk?

Absolutely! Our goal is to provide children with the best educational experience possible. Which includes establishing trust and respect with our Little Forest Folk families. We highly encourage involvement in several ways:


  • Open House

  • Special Celebrations

  • Potlucks

  • End of Year Picnic

  • Events and Programs at WNC

  • Sharing a special skill, story, craft, music or song with the class

  • Exchange of Ideas

Woodcock Nature Center

56 Deer Run Road, Wilton, CT 06897

P (203) 762-7280

F (203) 834-0062

Our mission is to connect people to the habitats, plants and animals of Southwestern CT through programs that build awareness, nurture understanding, and advance conservation. 

© Woodcock Nature Center 2019