MISSION & VISION
Our mission is to create a school where every child is valued and respected, and learning happens naturally.
Our vision is that Marigold Nature School will grow from a forest preschool and kindergarten into a full-fledged school community with students ages 0 to 18. We will build a sustainable schoolhouse on forested farm land where children can play, explore, discover, and create according to their own interests and talents. Our learning community fosters kindness, empathy, and social responsibility.
At Marigold Nature school, students are free to play, engage, discover, and create in the context of community in collaboration with peers as well as trained facilitators. Marigold Nature School is a learning environment centered around play, nature, and the arts, where all forms of learning are valued and children are respected as human beings and treated equitably.
JOY. Our days are full of song. There is a rhyme and song to every activity and transition. Music, rhythmic games, and movement bring delight to the children in all kinds of contexts, from meeting time to play, and practical work
PLAY. For children, play is work. The foundations for life and all future learning find their basis in the quality and quantity of a child’s play. Unstructured free-play happens here every day, both indoors and outdoors. During free-play, facilitators engage in practical work and invite the children to participate; they are free to join in the work or keep playing.
ART. Self-knowledge leads to self-expression, which comes in many art forms. Children are encouraged to practice all kinds of arts, from clay and beeswax modeling, to singing, playing musical instruments, movement (dance), to drawing, painting, and fiber crafts. We give children the materials, opportunities, and guidance for artistic expression.
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING. Children are given the space and freedom to choose which learning activities they want to participate in. Since we use a developmental approach and offer enjoyable lessons that meet children at the appropriate stage of their growth, most children (ages 7 to 10) will participate in our facilitator-led lessons. As children develop and become more competent in various subjects of study, they will start facilitating classes and workshops of their own!
EQUITY: Each and every member of our community, children and parents, are viewed as unique human beings worthy of respect. Through democratic principles of freedom and the threefold social structure envisioned by Rudolf Steiner, we aim to treat all people equitably and instill a commitment to social justice work in our student body.
COMMUNITY. Children of all ages interact on a daily basis in community with each other as well as the adults who work at the school. Children need to play and cooperate with peers as well as older and younger children. We believe that strong communities are the best education systems, and we invite all families to engage, volunteer, and participate in our festivals and events throughout the year.
MINDFULNESS. Whether it’s tidying toys or tying shoes, every activity is facilitated in a focused manner where multitasking is avoided and the children are invited to participate. Just being present and showing up is important. Facilitators carefully observe children and make note of their learning and intelligence styles, unique talents, and interests. Most importantly, adults model mindfulness so that the children will learn to live intentionally and consciously.
CREATIVE THINKING. The future requires human beings who can think creatively and come up with fresh ideas. All children are born with an immense capacity for divergent thinking. We encourage creativity and imagination, rather than stifling it with too much academic material and heady conversations. We provide open-ended, natural objects for play to encourage children to use their imaginations. We observe children struggling with a task and let them problem-solve, offering guidance when necessary.
Every great thinker and philosopher on the subject of education from Rousseau to Steiner, from John Gatto and Alfie Kohn to John Holt and Peter Gray, agrees that children teach themselves and are the best curriculum designers. Rather than using a top-down approach where teachers and administrators create curricula to dictate what and how students learn, facilitators follow the children's lead. Other educational philosophies such as Reggio Emilia, Montessori, and Waldorf schools have a similar approach: listening to the children and providing ample time for play, exploration, and discovery of the self. When children know who they are, they discover their life's purpose, and they become motivated to do whatever it takes to fulfill their destiny.
The children are the curriculum.
Our Forest School is play-based, and the children are exploring, learning, and conducting their own science experiments all day long. Facilitators and parents are available to observe, engage, be present with, discover alongside, and offer guidance when needed. Most of all, we trust children.