Forest Garden Morning

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out til sundown.
For going out, I found, was really going in”
John Muir

News & Updates

Sustainable Living Class in Homesteading and Permaculture for Adults
Learn how to build a kitchen garden, use herbs and common wild edibles in the kitchen, identify common plant families, bake from scratch, cheese making, soap making, herbal tinctures, sprouting, raising chickens for eggs, canning and food storage.  

Making Soft Cheese April 4th
Herbal Tinctures, Oils & Salves May 2nd
Cold Process Soap May 23rd
Plant Families & Wild Edibles June 7th
Food Storage: Dehydrating & Freezing Aug 29th
Food Storage: Waterbath and Pressure Canning Sept 19th
[more info]

Community HomeSchool spring semester

starts March 17th 2015.

Forest Garden: A wilderness play group for ages 4-7
starts April 1st 2015.


This is a one morning a week class that uses the Forest Kindergarten model as a framework. The class is for homeschooled children ages 4-7 and meets Fridays from 9am-12pm at the Amethyst Brook Conservation area in Amherst. 

The children are given a large amount of time to enjoy unstructured play together in the forest. They also participate in morning circle, occasional time for gardening and sbridgeeasonal nature projects, singing, verses, story time. We will spend most of our time outdoors even on days when it rains. (If the weather is particularly bad we may return to Beth's home across from the conservation area for part of our morning.) 

This program is taught by Beth Anne Moonstone. For more information or to register your child for this class please contact her at

Cost for this class is $300. for 9 weeks. We begin Friday April 3rd and run until May 29th. 

What is the Forest Kindergarten model?

The pedagogy of the Forest Kindergarten is children driven. It includes flow learkidsning, inquiry based teaching, place based learning and the use of an emergent curriculum. Children participate in a range of activities including: climbing, hiding, building, water play, going barefoot, throwing, stick play, digging, rolling on the ground, running, sand play, nature art, yelling, balancing, imaginative play and using tools.

Neuroscientists have discovered that the learning children's brains light up when they are engaged in play activities. “Children incorporate new information..this points to the inherent benefits of an outdoor classroom as an ideal learning space for young children” (Kenny, 3). Play based learning “encourages children to discover for themselves how to assimilate new information and increases problem solving through divergent thinking” (13).

Through the days activities students develop “social skills, cognitive benefits, hysical benefits, emotional benefits and  developing empathy” (Kenny, 39). The Forest Kindergarten Model emphasizes so motional development, kindness, compassion, cooperation and teamwork. Free play in nature allows for students to study the areas of ecology, biology, botany, ornithology, zoology, math, physics and engineering.

The development of compassion for the environment is typically associated with two key influences: unstructured time in nature and a mentor who teaches or models respect for nature. “When we feel a personal connection to even a small part of the planet, we will work harder to make sure the greater part if protected” (Kenny, 76). In addition to the many other demonstrated benefits, I believe the Forest Kindergarten model is a foundation for developing ecoliterate and compassionate children and adults.