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 a privately-owned space 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.  Field trips to public green spaces will occur once a month if possible. 


2020-21 School Year  updated 9/20/2020

In an effort to continue to serve the Santa Cruz Forest School community, our program will be giving priorty to returning students and siblings.  


We will gather as two mixed-aged groups of 8 families (up to 12 children) ages 3-7, and three adult teachers.  Children must be potty trained, no exceptions.  Siblings are encouraged to attend together when possible.  


We will follow the state health guidelines for "cohorts"  and childcare, which you can learn more about here:

or here:


Our schedule has been altered due to adjustments following the CZU fires.  We are currently working to build our second cohort - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:30 to 2:30. 


Scroll down for tuition information. 


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: 

Drop-off and pick-up procedures will be communicated clearly to each family and will include social distancing, masks, temperature checks and reduced adult face-to-face contact. 


When everyone has arrived, we'll 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 a meal. 


We will have regular times throughout the day to wash our hands, including before and after eating.  Each child brings their own food and is not permitted to share or exchange food.  The picnic blankets are stored away for awhile, so we will sit on the ground with a large cloth napkin or bandana brought from home to serve as a table cloth.  Everyone will be spaced 6 feet apart while we eat and share in conversation.  Sometimes we share books during this time. 


After eating, we clean up and play some more, maybe eat again, then finish the day with expressions of gratitude and a final hand-washing.  We hike back to the parking lot to meet our parents and care-takers.  Adults stay socially distant and wear masks and children are delivered to them after a final hand-washing session. 


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.  If your child enjoys writing or drawing, you may send a small notebook and pencil or crayons for their personal use. No other toys are permitted. 


Each day varies according to the lead and interests of the children.  


Logistical Information and Tuition:


First Day of School: Monday, August 31st, 2020

Last Day of School:  Thursday, May 27th, 2021 


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. 


In the spirit of flexibility during this uncertain time, we are offering shorter commitment times so families can re-evaluate their needs at the Winter Break. When conditions improve, and we are able to increase group size and inter-mix groups, we plan to offer a four-day per week option. 


Fall term: August 31-December 21, 2020 (September tuition due August 15)

2-day tuition - $1600 or 400 per month (sibling pair $760)

3-day tuition - $2400 or 600 per month (sibling pair $1080)


Tuition assistance is available for those who qualify. 


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, cool or warm. 


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 (no cotton), fleece or down jacket, wool or thick socks. 

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