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What is Important

At Northwoods, we aim to allow children to be as self-directed as possible while offering guidance to help them conquer tasks and gain confidence and independence. We bring together a balance of academic enrichment and investment with hands-on creative opportunities that nurture the whole child.

We do focus on the forest school aspect, your student will explore the natural world throughout all MN seasons. They will learn skills, develop their interests, take calculated risks, gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, and connect with nature in a holistic way. 

We offer Waldorf-inspired blocks that feed the heart, creative mind, artistic potential, music experience, and general academic subjects that also fit into the MN requirements for home school education.

We value family. We support a strong family bond through the journey of home education. Through our home school support services and parent/child opportunities, we foster growing together, not drifting apart.

What is most important to us is our childrens' future; yours, ours, and those to come. 

We feel strongly that children need safe environments that treat them with respect and care and build up the family.  They need to be able to play, learn, create, make mistakes, conquer fears, be inspired, gain confidence, learn resilience, connect, and grow to be creative independent community members when they leave our campus for their next adventure.

 Our programs, practices, training, policies and academic curriculum all reflect this core value. 

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FAQ

Is Northwoods Forest School a charter school, private school, technical college, etc?

No. We are not a federally operated school. Nor are we a school in the traditional sense. A forest school is to learn from the forest, to learn from nature. NWFS happens to also support home school families by opening up enrichment opportunities using Waldorf-Inspired blocks (unit studies) and group learning that is more difficult to achieve in a home setting. We offer social opportunities to develop confidence and lifelong friends!

What kind of building is it, or is it 100% outside?

We have a small school building, a fenced courtyard with gardens, trails throughout our acreage. We have two bathroom facilities in our school building (boys & girls.) In summer months, we utilize an open canopy for additional outdoor space and learning, so our program should be 90%-100% outside for those months.

Is Northwoods Forest School a home school co-op? 

Kind of. We are like a co-op in many ways! We have group lessons, we have a wide ranges of ages, we have homeschool families learning from each other, we have parent-volunteers, and we gather on consistent days through the school year. 

Is Northwoods a tutoring service? 

Again, kind of. We offer the support to a home school family to empower them to confidently school their children. We offer structure, routine, traditional group learning experiences, and English tutoring. 

Is Northwoods accredited?

Yes! We are accredited through POE Accreditation service. We finished our program review in January 2023 for our Initial Accreditation for 2024, and hopefully will be fully accredited by 2025! We are not accredited through the MN Dept Ed (they do not accredit nature schools) however, so we cannot issue credits or transcripts. 

Is Northwoods a child care facility?

No. While we do see ourselves as a helper to safeguard school-age children - we are not solely a childcare service. We do align our facility with the high safety and care standards of professional licensed child care, though we are not licensed through the state. Some working families do take advantage of our services to coordinate their work schedules and stay on track with home education endeavors! 

Does Northwoods provide free homeschool curriculum?

Sort of. We offer our Waldorf-Inspired blocks monthly. These work like a Unit Study, so they encompass subjects such as history, science,  english, social studies and some maths. This is included in our service. We do not provide Math curriculum beyond what is in our block or Language Arts such as formal grammar. We do however help each family craft their year and build their lesson plans (if selected), we help everyone stay on track and support areas that need some extra attention. 

Is there a licensed teacher?

MN teaching licenses have had some additions that we are not aligned with - so we do not seek instructors that hold a current license. We do have specialists, certified education assistants, and degree holding instructors. We also work with retired teachers (no longer active licenses), tradesmen, and other wise self-taught people for our program. 

What about safety?

We are very safety conscious! We know your child is precious, so we treat them with the utmost care and safety responsibility. We employ policies of "Always in Sight", so a Guide will always be in line-sight of your child when outdoors. We maintain a 2-adult accountability when indoors. We make sure high visibility vests are worn when hiking in the interior woods. We are very aware of hunting openers and have our property adequately marked with No Hunting/ Trespassing signs.  We have security cameras monitoring our immediate campus, we have safety/emergency policies that are built on a high caliber that high end summer camps utilize, we survey our forests for danger fells and large animal areas, and we keep clinic-caliber first aid essentials  in the school building and small kits are given to Guides and mini kits to students. Phew, that's a lot... but it still isn't all! We have full-time staff train with Wilderness First Aid, they are Nature-Based Teaching Certified, have completed Ministry Safe (Predatory Topics including child/child awareness), and are fluent with our board certified Emergency Procedures. We also train our Volunteers with NWFS procedures. All adults working around children are required to have a current background check on file. 

Why a Late Fee for late pick-ups?

All of our full-time staff are offering their time to us at a meager rate because they believe in our mission, so they also often work second jobs after our forest school day. We try to encourage a supportive and respectful atmosphere for that reason. If you are running late to pick up your child that unfortunately means a staff person must also stay late to ensure additional supervision for your little one. If you know you will be late regularly, perhaps we can arrange some additional service to fit your needs. Otherwise we have a default of $1 per minute, to compensate our extra expenses for our staff, thank you for your understanding.

Why Waldorf?

Rudolf Steiner said, "Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education."

We feel strongly that each child should be treated as a whole, valuable, irreplaceable, intelligent, creative, inspiring individual. We feel Waldorf methods nurture the whole mind, heart, and spirit of a human being.

If we can come close to Steiners vision, we will have labored for the most noble of reasons. 

The family, the children, the future is what we are investing our effort into.  

Join us in this journey to bring to life: education, inspiration, arts, music, connection, and adventure in your childs school years. 

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