Questions serve as a way to foster a child's connection with their environment, encouraging children to think about what is happening around them while they are playing.
We love the Forest School program at MVCDS! Every morning our son is excited to get to school and get out to the woods. In just the first few months we’ve seen him become stronger, have better balance, and gain overall confidence. But it’s not just a physical experience for him, he’s building friendships and exploring literacy and math out there too.  ~Kate (& Erik) Blake Maumee Valley Parents

The Early Learning Center at Maumee Valley

Children are born with an innate drive to learn, and we set out to provide an environment that promotes this philosophy through play and a forest school inspired program, that values process over product, and that provides adults with whom they develop trusting, caring relationships. Our Early Learning Center is unique to other learning centers in that we have full use of our 75-acre campus that includes woods, creeks, fields, and trails for teachers to implement the curriculum and our forest school inspired program.

The Early Learning Center engages, nurtures, and supports young children in their pursuit of knowledge and meaning through inquiry, social-emotional development, child-centered curriculum, and creative expression. This is where our students begin their journey toward becoming competent, compassionate, collaborative, and creative global citizens.

The Maumee Valley ELC places children based on their development, and not strictly by age, allowing for classroom groupings that best meet each child's needs. Our team of expert educators focuses on “whole child development”, ensuring that each student’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical needs are being met while paying careful attention to the many unique communication and learning styles of young children.

The Early Learning Center Mission

The Early Learning Center’s mission is to provide an environment that encourages independence while valuing the time and development of individual children. Children construct their own knowledge through flexible instruction, child-initiated play, and through the process of learning how to learn. We are a diverse community that fosters mutual respect and social responsibility, enhanced by a strong partnership between home and school.

Welcome to Forest School

Maumee Valley is home to more than 75 acres of forest that is just waiting to be explored. Our Forest School inspired program helps our youngest learners connect with the beautiful natural spaces that surround us.

Giving all children time to explore nature, however they choose, is high on our priority list. Children gain a sense of pride and grow through self-led, deeply engaged play. Our Forest School inspired program incorporates the traditional Scandinavian philosophy with our developmentally appropriate curriculum. You can find our teachers conducting their morning meetings outside, our students planting in our garden beds and our parents talking to their children about their learning experiences via their child’s digital portfolio.    

We encourage awareness in the children by engaging their senses with the environment around them. We often ask questions such as, “What has changed since our last visit?”, “How does the water feel today?”, “Can you smell an acorn?”, “Do you think that is one bird calling, or many?”, or “Who do you think lives in our park?” These questions serve as a way to foster the connection with nature, encouraging the children to think about what is happening around them while they are playing.

List of 5 items.

  • The Role of the Child

    Children are born with an innate drive to learn. Our Early Learning Center classes have a co-created curriculum. This is a balance between adults and children. Children are challenged and provoked in a positive way. The curriculum that evolves from this co-creation is one that is inquiry-based emerging from children’s thoughts, questions, and hypotheses about the world around them.

    Regarding students and learning, we believe
    -All students can learn
    -Learners progress at different paces and learn in a variety of ways.
    -Students need to feel valued, safe and be part of a group.
  • The Role of the Teacher

    The role of the teacher is to encourage critical thinking on the part of the children, to encourage children to ask questions, and to be a researcher with the children. Teachers are the scribes who listen, record, and display classroom experiences. They carefully plan questions and explorations that will stimulate the children’s innate curiosity and a love for learning. Our teachers are early childhood experts who advocate for the children and work closely with colleagues and parents to foster an inviting, thought-provoking, community-based learning environment.

    Regarding teachers and teaching, we believe
    -Teachers build relationships that are responsive, respectful, and reciprocal with students and parents.
    -The students’ best interests are always foremost in decision making.
    -Teachers will provide an environment in which students can express their feelings, and receive appropriate responses from others.
  • The Role of the Parents

    Parent involvement and participation is essential in this program. Parents, as the children’s first teachers, are vital partners in the educational process. Documentation via our digital learning portfolio platform, Storypark, is uploaded weekly for parents to have focused conversations about what their child is learning in the classroom. There are many opportunities for parent involvement at all levels of commitment and interest.

    Regarding learning communities, we believe
    -Parents are the students’ first teachers.
    -Partnerships are developed within the community for students to be successful.
    -Our learning community provides a sense of family.
  • Relationships

    Our early learning center celebrates our children’s identity. We focus on the individual child as part of a family, a school, a community, and the larger society. We spend a large amount of time focusing on the children’s individual identity and their classroom community.
  • Pedagogy

    Our Early Learning Center is a Forest School inspired program that infuses student-directed nature-based learning with an academic and social-emotional program designed in collaboration with early childhood researcher Ben Mardell from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education's Pedagogy of Play department.

School Information

1715 South Reynolds Road
Toledo, OH 43614
p: 419-381-1313
f: 419-381-1314
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Maumee Valley Country Day School is the only Preschool - 12th grade accredited, co-educational, independent school in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.