Our school blends the forest kindergarten model with Waldorf philosophy and is held entirely outdoors throughout the school year at North Mountain Park, with field trips to Lithia Park and other forests and farms. We are a multi-age kindergarten and preschool. Please visit our Philosophy and Resources pages to learn about the many benefits of our program.
School hours are 9 am to 1 pm Monday through Thursday, September through June, with vacations generally following the Siskiyou School Calendar. Seasonal celebrations to strengthen our school community and parent evenings are also offered. For current year details, enrollment, and tuition see our Details page where we also list our current year's Summer Camps.
After circle time we provide a healthy and hearty group snack of organic apples, carrots, sprouted almonds, raisins, cheese, meat, and roasted chickpeas, with other seasonal additions and cornbread or muffins on Thursday, along with warm tea with honey. Children bring a small lunch from home to eat near the end of our school day.
Children will thrive in the outdoor school if they are properly prepared. An early bedtime, a hearty breakfast, a positive attitude about the weather modeled by parents, and appropriate clothes for the weather are critical to the success of our outdoor days. We can’t stress enough the importance of the right gear. In our opinion there is not bad weather just bad gear. Through experience we have learned that certain brands perform better than others. We have a “library” of gear for families to check out to help on expenses. Please check with us if you would like to see what we have available. Donations to our gear library gratefully accepted too. See Parent Page for detailed gear list.
Our school days start with imaginative play time and invitations to craft or work on projects. A seasonal circle of songs, rhymes, ring games, and therapeutic movement is followed by the sharing of a healthy snack. Adventuring around the park, playing, walking and activities will fill the rest of our day before a small lunch from home. Our day ends with an oral story that often includes a puppet show.
Many of our days our spent in the oak woodlands and riparian areas of North Mountain Park, centrally located in Ashland, Oregon. Little Gnomes Nature School has a special partnership with the park, which serves as our home base and support site. Nature play areas and structures, trails, shelters, ponds, wetlands, meadows, and Bear Creek are our classroom. We also visit the forests of Lithia Park and occasional farms, forests and trails nearby.