Accepting Applications for the Jan-Apr 2019 Semester!

The forest kindergarten approach is a specific model of preschool education based on emergent curriculum in a natural setting. This is an excellent overview from Natural Start Alliance.

If invited to enroll, we request a response with your intent to enroll and initial payment of $100 (enrollment fee; non-refundable) within 36 hours to hold your child's spot. 

When you enroll, you will receive access to the full handbook. You might also want to read our FAQ page to learn more about what to expect! Here are some of the other big things to know before applying:

Schedule

Athens Forest Kindergarten meets every Friday (rain or shine, really!) from 9:00am-1:00pm. We will have safety procedures with regard to severe weather and we will have a safe building to retreat to as needed. But this is an all-weather program, so if your child loves stomping in puddles or playing with mud, you’re in luck!

We meet every Friday, January-April except for January 4th (winter break) and March 15th (spring break).

The group gathers at the drop-off circle near the forest and explores the forest edge or a nearby meadow with one educator, while another does clothing checks. Then we all head into the forest together. On a given day, we typically visit two pre-selected sites. This place-based educational approach means that we most-often return to beloved favorite spots, where children thrive on their deepening relationship with the land. But our emergent curriculum also leads us to follow the children, sometimes quite literally, off the path to a newfound discovery! During the morning period we break for a shared snack and then at the end of our time we share a lunch of rice and beans on the patio of the community building where we do pickup.

Location

We will meet at Earthsong, located 20 minutes west of downtown Athens. 

Cost

 You can choose between the following two tiers of payment and receive a discount by paying in lump sums:

  • Tier 1  = Monthly tuition of $170 + standard volunteer requirements. ($1360 per year + 8 hours of volunteer work throughout the year)

  • Tier 2 = Monthly tuition of $150 + 20 hours volunteer work through the year. ($1200 per year + 20 hours of volunteer work throughout the year)

Other costs to consider

  • You will need some high-quality outdoor gear for your child including rain boots, rain gear (one piece suit or separates), long underwear, wool socks, a winter hat that fastens under the chin, waterproof mittens, a high quality winter coat (not a puffy coat).

  • Families will rotate bringing snack. Each family will be asked to bring snack 3-4 times.

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Expectations for the cooperative

Volunteer

 As a co-op that strives to be inclusive of families’ different schedules, we recognize that not all families will be able to volunteer in the forest kindergarten program itself. To meet your volunteer requirements, we will offer a variety of choices, including the Parent-Helper in the forest, weekend trail maintenance, weekend community outreach projects, and administrative work for the organization. Therefore, it may be helpful to know that family volunteer commitments may be split up among various family members but only a child’s legal guardian may volunteer with the Forest Kindergarten program!

Education

A fundamental principle of cooperative preschools is to provide parent education. We look forward to helping you deepen your understanding of topics such as gentle parenting, mindfulness, child development, inquiry-based learning, and more. We will offer approximately four education opportunities throughout the year (a short weekend workshop) and we ask all families to choose two sessions that fit their interests.

Community-building

AFK belongs to you! It’s our responsibility to create and maintain our sense of community. We encourage families to attend as many of our social events as possible, but at minimum, please plan on our fall potluck and our spring picnic!