The Santa Cruz Forest School
The Santa Cruz Forest School

Our Program is modeled after the European Forest Kindergarten.  Children enjoy self-directed free play in the forest and meadow in Felton, California.  Forest School children often develop a deeper respect and sense of wonder for our environment while cultivating social emotional skills that form a foundation for learning.  


We meet outside, rain or shine, at a private Felton 30-acre green space whose mission is outdoor education.  Field trips to public green spaces will occur once a month. 


2020-21 School Year 

Update (5/21/20): We cannot be sure at this time what our Fall Program will look like.  Below is what we had planned, but Health requirements may limit us to one stable group, eliminating the ability to provide a flexible schedule for families. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility.


You may choose 2, 3, or 4 days per week.  Wednesday afternoon is available as 1 day per week. 

3-6 year olds meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00-2:00.  

4-7 year olds meet Wednesday from 12:45-4:45.


We are a 9-month program, running from early September to the end of May.  Summer camps are available as well. 


To hear an interview with Amanda Bell, director of SCFS, click on the following link.  "Inside Education" begins at the 2 minute mark.


Daily Rhythm:


We gather between 8:50 and 9:10, greeting one another and playing until everyone has arrived.  Once we're ready, we hike to where we'll spend our day exploring.  During welcome circle we have song and dance, story telling, announcements and safety agreements.  Afterwards we play and explore until we're hungry, at which time we gather for an early lunch.  Each child brings their own lunch.   A teacher may read a story if the conversation lulls.  We clean up and play some more, then finish the day with expressions of gratitude.  We hike back to our gathering place to meet our parents and care-takers at 1:00pm.  Sometimes we're a few minutes late. 


Light integration of materials such as yarn for crafting, nature journals for story dictation and drawing, drums and sound makers, etc., is often available during free play. Each day varies according to the lead and interests of the children.  


Logistical Information and Tuition:


2020-21 School Year
Meeting Times:
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday: 9:00 - 2:00 PM

Wednesday: 12:45 - 4:45 PM


First Day of School: Monday, August 31st
Last Day of School:  Thursday, May 27th 


School Holidays: 

Labor Day: September 7th

Fall Break: Nov. 25-27
Winter Break: Dec. 21-Jan. 1

MLK: Jan. 18

President's day: Feb. 15
Spring break: April 5-9


We maintain a 1:4 teacher/student ratio to ensure quality care for your child as they explore the outdoors. 


Annual tuition is based on a 9-month calendar.  When you register your child, you are committing to the full school year. 


Monday/Tuesday/Thursday Morning: Annual tuition is $5,300 for the 3-day, 5 hour, 9-month program for children ages 3 - 6.  The total may be paid in 9 monthly installments of $590 due on the last business day of the prior month. 


Tuesday/Thursday Morning: Annual tuition is $3,640 for the 2-day, 5 hour, 9-month program for children ages 3 - 6.  The total may be paid in 9 monthly installments of $405 due on the last business day of the prior month.  


Wednesday Afternoon: Annual tuition is $1,575 for the 1-day, 9 month program for children ages 4.5 - 6. The total may be paid in 9 monthly installments of $175 due on the last business day of the prior month.


A 10% sibling discount is available and will be applied to the second child’s tuition upon request. 


Enrollment Requirements:
• 33 months old or older by the first day of forest school
• Toilet trained by the start of forest school. Unlike traditional indoor programs, your child will frequently be sorting through many layers of clothing before going to the bathroom.  The ability to know and regulate toileting is therefore a necessity. 
• Your child must be prepared (and want!) to be outside rain or shine. 


Clothing Suggestions:
• Comfortable, warm and waterproof footwear
• Loose fitting clothing that can get muddy and dirty
• Waterproof rain pants, rain jacket, boots 
• During cold weather: hat, mittens, long-underwear, fleece or down jacket, wool or thick socks.

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