Little Gnomes Nature School blends the nature immersion model with Waldorf early childhood philosophy. Traditional songs, ring games, stories and crafts tailored to the outdoor experience shape our days, while child-driven inquiry and exploration of the natural world will guide our free play and inspire our curriculum and activities. Our school days will happen throughout the school year in all weather, which will require a commitment from families to support the children with a positive attitude and the right gear. LGNS is a multi-age kindergarten and preschool that accepts children ages 3-6. We find the interactions between different ages in early childhood to be enriching and beneficial for everyone.
Our teaching style and philosophy are inspired by European forest schools introduced in the 1950s. Studies have shown that children who attended forest schools were arriving to elementary school with strong social skills, the ability to work in groups effectively, high self esteem, and confidence in their abilities. We believe that unstructured play time in nature provides rich opportunities for learning. Another benefit of our outdoor program is that children will face physical challenges and learn to navigate risk through physical activities such as tree climbing or hiking to stay warm. Those challenges will help them become stronger and more coordinated, independent, and confident in their abilities. These problem solving and creative thinkings skills also lead to greater confidence in later academic, scientific and social endeavors.
Our mission is to offer a program where children can develop a true connection to nature and local animal and plant communities by being outdoors and encountering them in a rich and direct way. LGNS provides children with the opportunity to fully engage all of their senses with the natural world through the seasons in the diverse and inviting setting at North Mountain Park. Our program builds physical strength and coordination and fosters confidence, imaginative play, environmental knowledge, and a deep and lasting heart connection to nature.
While our play time and outdoor exploration will be unstructured and driven by the interests and imaginations of the children, we will draw from our Waldorf backgrounds to weave daily and seasonal rhythm, songs and movements during circle time, and enriching stories into our days. Strong rhythm in our days creates a predictable and comforting environment for the children. Our songs and stories support pre-literacy learning and language development and also celebrate the seasons and joys of nature. Nature crafts and activities will be offered each week as well.