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 

In an effort to continue to serve the Santa Cruz Forest School community, our program will be giving priorty to returning students and siblings.  When the time is right, we will grow again.


We will gather as a mixed-aged group of 12 children ages 3-7, and three adult teachers.  Children must be potty trained, no exceptions. Siblings are encouraged to attend together when possible.  


Option 1: T/Th 

Option 2: T/W/Th 


Tuesdays and Thursdays we will meet from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Wednesdays we will meet from 9:00-12:00


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: updated 5/30/20 to reflect CDC guidelines 

Meet at the table by the Big Rock in the Parking Lot.  Adults and children over 12 are required to wear face coverings and remain 6 feet from one another.  At sign-in, a brief conversation will include a few questions about your child's health.  We will use a forehead thermometer to check for fever.  You may bring your own thermometer if that is more comfortable for your child. 


After signing in, children will walk with a teacher to the meadow/upper fire pit area where they will play and wait for all the children to arrive. Adults remain in the parking area only. 


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 a morning snack. We will have regular times throughout the day when we all wash our hands, including before and after snack. Each child brings their own lunch.  Children sit on the ground or their own lightweight towel or mat, spaced apart from each other, to eat.  A teacher may read a story if the conversation lulls.  We clean up and play some more, eat again, then finish the day with expressions of gratitude.  We hike back to our gathering place to meet our parents and care-takers at 2:00 pm at the parking lot table for sign-out.  Remember to stay in your car or 6 feet apart from others, and wear your face-coverings at pick-up. 



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:


First Day of School: Tuesday, September 8th, 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. 


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


Option 1: T/Th 

Annual tuition is $3,850   or $430 per month

Option 2: T/W/Th 

Annual tuition is $5,600   or $625 per 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, 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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