Welcome! We are a newly formed nature immersion program located in Gainesville, FL. Our Forest School program is designed for children ages 3-6 and follows the forest school model for education. This means our program is entirely outdoors and uses free play in nature to guide our classes. Our outdoor classroom is located in the Serenola Forest Neighborhood on the south side of Gainesville, with hikes through Serenola Forest and a few site visits to neighboring natural areas.
At Prairie’s Edge Forest School, we believe that children are not simply “adults-in-training” but are important people in our social and ecological community. They should be listened to, valued, and respected. This idea drives our approach to learning as the instructors at PEFS follow the child’s interest and allow play to drive our agenda.
We believe that preschoolers and kindergarteners are at a formative age and are still developing. They require compassion and support as they navigate new experiences, conflict, and their increasing skills.
We strive to show compassion toward ourselves, others, and nature.
We believe that unique learning can happen outside in nature. Nature sparks the natural curiosity and imagination of children. It is a rich environment for honing many necessary and important skills for children. Nature also provides a calming and restorative environment that can aid in physical and emotional regulation- self motivation, cooperation, respect, gratitude, awareness, and creativity.
We believe that play is the best way for a child to learn! We also believe that playing is fun, which is important in and of itself.
We hope to provide children with an environment to flourish into their best and fullest selves, while learning to care for the world around them. Children who have been allowed to play in nature and have been guided by adults who also enjoy nature display care for nature even into adulthood. (Chawla, 2007)