The Woods seeks to cultivate a child’s awareness and active engagement for being in “right relation” and holding harmony with the natural cycles of our world. In doing so, we tap into our children’s capacity to be collaborative, creative and conscientious, which in turn, provides a foundation for them to flourish and thrive at a whole-person level.
The Woods adheres to 8 Core Commitments that guide our approach to teaching and learning:
Nature Connection & Eco-Stewardship | Experiential & Hands-on Exploration | Project-based & Narrative-based | Child-informed & Inspired | Inquiry & Dynamic Discovery | Arts & Creativity | Whole Child Identity | Collaborative Community
The Woods believes that intentionality, spontaneity, and mindful instruction support our children’s growth and development, and, we are inspired by the myriad of meanings and possibilities that a Free School invites. The term “Free” encourages us to explore, interact, and freely learn with and from the whole world. It reinforces that each of us is free to realize our true potential from a whole child / whole person perspective (mind, body, spirit). We can be more effective and inspiring in our offerings to our children when we facilitate a free and experiential approach.
The Woods holds the core value, as well as active core belief, that children who are offered mutual respect, a trust in their able-ness, and creative input through involved participation, develop a self-awareness that fosters interest, curiosity, and eagerness to actively engage in their present (socialized as well as natural) world. When we teach children how to work together, using their strengths and interests, as well as those of their peers, undoubtedly we will create a public that reflects those behaviors.
The Woods offers individual, collaborative, and group activities; we ask all participants to thoughtfully engage in the intentional experience of the day, (understanding that at times kids are free to and encouraged to wander with their own intentions). We ask that participants offer warmth and encouragement to their peers, and tap into their own passions and enthusiasm.
The Woods embraces planned as well as unplanned experiences within our reach, recognizing that the opportunity for discovery, exploration, or skill development exists within the daily interactions we have with our world. Whether we are hiking a trail, harvesting (or shopping for) and preparing our foods, or embracing a warm and cozy home on a cool, rainy day, our Free School approach embraces the intentionality within learning and seeks to respond to the needs of the whole child.
The Woods provides intentional instruction and structured mentorship to guide and encourage forward motion on the continuum of each day’s exploration, as well as across the overall teaching-learning experience that unfolds week to week. While on this continuum of exploration, we examine and implement concepts that support the whole child: their Mind, their Body and their Spirit. Our belief is that with the active participation of the group, the mentor is better able to implement the frame of the experience, as well as be more in-tune with opportunities for spontaneity, and address the unique needs or desires of each individual learner.