Our Lower School is a Forest School-inspired program that infuses student-directed nature-based learning with an academic and social-emotional program. Maumee Valley is home to more than 75 acres of forest that is just waiting to be explored. Our 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 a high priority. Children gain a sense of pride and grow through self-led and deeply engaged play. Our 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?”, and “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.
Our 75-acre campus allows us to take our learning outside. Our children can be found strengthening fine and gross motor muscles and social-emotional skills through climbing, building, digging, working together, and problem solving in the forest. We also bring the outside into our classroom to incorporate nature in our play-based learning activities. Children can be seen sorting rocks, counting acorns, making letters, writing words or ordering sticks from shortest to longest, among other nature-inspired activities. At Maumee Valley, we are not afraid to get dirty while learning.