Outdoor preschool

NW AdVenture Company
Garden Preschool

We are currently accepting enrollments for our Garden Preschool. If you are already familiar with our program and want to register now, please reach out!

About Our Preschool

4 & 5
Flower Magic Farm in NE Portland
Beginning Sept. 15, 2022 and following the PPS schedule

Summertime dates to be announced in the Spring
9:30 am - 1:30 pm
Education, Naturally
This preschool is designed to provide our students with the best possible environment for their development as both individuals and members of a community. Below you will find a list containing the focal elements of our program:

Literacy and Literacy Priming

The best kind of teaching is the teaching we do ourselves. Our reading curriculum is based in well developed science which indicates that students can begin learning how to read much earlier than is being taught in public schools. While every student is different, we believe that it is important to begin the process of learning literacy as soon as possible.

A Socioemotional Toolbox

It should come as no surprise to find this item on the list. In fact, most preschool age parents list socioemotional development as the “most important skill” when selecting a preschool. We have taken this very seriously and developed a proprietary teaching model to best fit a range of students while taking full advantage of the privileges offered by an outdoor space.

If you would like more information about the Intuitive Teaching Model, feel free to reach out to our instructor Grant directly.

Stewardship of the More-than-Human World

Teaching skills in stewardship grows two plants with one seed. One is that the most effective way to knit children into a wider community is by offering them responsibility. The other - and pardon the darker turn - is that today’s youngest generation will bear the burden of our rapidly deteriorating climate. We hope to make a difference by first connecting students with the land through exposure to outdoor spaces, and second providing them the skills to care for that land as that relationship matures.

Mathematics and The Scientific Method

Mental salience - including focus, determination, critical thought, and reason - begins with exploration of the material world. We believe that science offers us the most practical and effective interface between our senses and our reality. As such, we introduce math and science in the form of play based experimentation, allowing nature to guide our exploration. 

Safety from Infectious Disease

Our organization was initially founded to provide families with a safe school alternative in late 2020. As such we have deep roots in spread prevention as well as many existing protocols to mitigate any potential exposures.
THe Instructor

I'm Grant. I have been teaching natural philosophy and science while honing my skills in education since 2010. My journey began as a student at outdoor camps and schools here in Oregon, and took me to China, Ohio, and California on my way back home. I am so grateful to have had exposure to such a variety of institutional approaches, methodologies, and teachers, and am stoked to begin sharing what I've learned in my own way.

If it interests you, you can read more about my professional background here.

On my journey, I found my deepest interest and aptitude in working with preschool age students. As such my values as a teacher center primarily on the long term development of little minds. It is my hope that our program does not just prepare students for the woods, but also for the dynamic modern systems in which they will likely participate. During the summer, I have a blast putting on a character to lead campers along an epic fantasy, resplendent in as much silliness as educational content. However, in our garden classroom it is important to me that the student takes the limelight. Similarly, it has been a priority for me while preparing for this year that our systems and lessons do not pigeon-hole students into a singular style of learning.

I am so excited to begin exercising my accumulated knowledge in an environment and with an institution that supports my expertise. More so perhaps to meet all the future students this fall.

- Grant
The Importance of Community
As a final note, as expressed above, our primary goal is to prepare our students for whatever comes next. It is important to us that we retain a consistency of quality and character throughout our programming and that starts with the community we have built. It is our hope that they can feel a part of that community and a sense of home with us as your student grows up.

With all that in mind, feel free to browse our other youth programs at your leisure to determine if this is the right organization for you.

Finally, it is important to us, and the proprietor of the land that current and prospective families know how hard we work to maintain responsible and respectful business practices. Our instructors and our spaces sometimes need time away. Our stellar community has its own back and allows us to provide that time when necessary at no expense to the families we serve.

Why Outdoor Preschool?

Perhaps an equally important question is to ask, "why not outdoor preschool?"

Outdoor preschool is not for everyone. In fact, research shows that preschool is not for everyone. Part of our process is meeting students where they are, but the fact of the matter is that it will sometimes be wet, cold, too hot, sticky, dirty, muddy, and with an exciting portion of mitigated risk. All of these things were a part of human evolution, and we hope that by returning to those roots we can better access the immense power of a child's mind and help those children better access their own bodies.

Outdoor schooling is becoming increasingly popular around the world, but here in Portland, we think that even where outdoor schooling benefits students cognitively, it also benefits them culturally. Moreover, as a member of our rapidly globalizing community, connection to land and a sense of responsibility for space is a valuable tool one can only receive through exposure.

Whatever the journey looks like, it is our intense belief (and hope) that returning children to the environments their biology is adapted to is the most beneficial way to stimulate their development. In the words of forest school researcher Erin Kenny, "Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls."
Still not convinced? Here are some cherry picked resources to read about why outdoor schools serve some students better:

The Definitive Longitudinal Study
From the New York Times
From the Atlantic
A Study On Forest Schools and Environmentalism

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