Kindergarten that Nourishes the Whole Child
Farm and Forest Kindergarten nourishes the whole child – body, heart, and mind. Research shows young children learn best when given plenty of opportunities for movement, exploration, and engagement with the natural world. Ketcha’s nature-based curriculum integrates traditional academics – including all the basics of reading and writing – with ecology, mindfulness, art and music. Our certified teachers also place a strong emphasis on social-emotional development, creating a successful foundation for lifelong learning.
Outdoor and Indoor Classrooms
Our primary classroom is our 107 acres of forest and fields, a pond, streams, hiking trails and an educational farm. We spend as much of our day outside as we can! Additionally, we utilize a welcoming, fully-equipped indoor classroom space each day. We also use a woodstove-heated yurt for our morning meeting and academic work time during colder months. In the spring and fall, our yurt-side picnic tables and wooden platform serve as our outdoor classroom. Throughout the year, student learning continues as we walk, play, explore, and study the natural environments at Ketcha.
Our unique program uses Wild Math and Wild Reading, supplemented by Everyday Math and a variety of early literacy and phonics curricula. Our science program uses the Next Generation Science Standards as a jumping off point, but our outdoor model means that ecology education happens all the time! We incorporate mindfulness strategies, singing, and art into our daily routines. Both of our teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom, which takes a social and emotional approach to teaching and discipline. Our goal is to balance core academic skill building with nature based play and exploration.
A Sample Day at Farm and Forest Kindergarten
8:30 – Arrival and Free Play at the Forest Playground
Kids love using this time for imaginative play! They eagerly create, engineer, and pretend. Teachers observe closely, and are on hand to support student communication, problem solving, and safety.
9:15 – Morning Meeting in the Yurt (with a cozy woodstove in the winter!)
We sing, greet each other, and share our thinking. We use this time to set a positive tone for the day.
9:45 – Outdoor Snack
10:15 – Morning Lesson
Lessons focus on skill building in literacy and math. This includes a combination of direct instruction, guided practice, independent work, and partner work.
11:15 – Morning Hike
Along the way, we reinforce lesson content, while also allowing them time to interact with each other. At our nature spot, we often read a book on our most recent science theme, such as habitats, weather, or using our senses. Short guided activities connect our learning to the space we’re in. Students also get time to explore this new location together.
12:30 – Lunch
Held outside if weather permits, otherwise held in our Ketcha Great Room, with plenty of room for safe COVID spacing.
1:00 – Mindfulness and Quiet Time
After lunch we do some calming exercises to help us transition into a 30 minute quiet time, held in our classroom.
1:45 – Read Aloud
2:00 – Choice Time
In our indoor classroom, students play with blocks, legos, art materials, playdough, board games, or the dollhouse (among other things!) to build fine motor and social skills.
Department of Education Approved
Our kindergarten program is an approved private school registered with the Maine Department of Education and adheres to state guidelines for health, safety and quality assurance. Our nature-based curriculum is taught by two certified teachers and incorporates the content areas of Maine’s Learning Standards. With a ratio of 1:6, our teachers are able to deliver high quality, attentive instruction to each student based on their individual needs.
Scholarships are Available!
We strive to promote access to nature-based learning to all children and families. Please indicate your interest in scholarships when you reach out to schedule your tour.
Dates & Rates 2022/23
- September to June
- Monday through Friday 8:30 to 2:30
- Tuition: $13,000. Payable in 10 installments
- Eligibility: Readiness skills and 5 years old by the end of October
- Class size maximum: 12 students and 2 teachers
- Aftercare options available
For questions or to schedule a tour please contact:
Alaena Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org