FAQ

answers to common questions

GENERAL

Q: What kind of groups do you offer? 

A: Forest School For All offers three types of groups: Forest Explorer, Forest Creator, and Forest Discoverer. All are outdoor family gatherings, available for all ages, all abilities and are hosted in all types of weather. Forest Explorer Groups center around child-led exploration, whereas Forest Creator Groups provide weekly activities to help children express their creativity outdoors and Forest Discoverer Groups focuses on a weekly theme, multiple activities and take-home resources to help children dive deep into discovering the outdoors. Learn more about these groups below in the FAQs and on our page, Join a Group.

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Forest Explorer Groups

Q. How often do groups meet?

A. Groups meet weekly, with some special events on weekends depending on leader availability.  Expect groups to meet weekly, year round.  You can find information on group specifics on our Adventure Map.

Q. Do you meet if it is raining or snowing?

A. Yes, groups explore in all seasons and weather.  Wear appropriate gear and clothing to help prolong year-round enjoyment.  You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids

Q. What should I bring?

A. Plan to wear appropriate gear for the current season and weather, and to bring snacks/lunch, a change of clothes and water.  If your child is young, a baby carrier may be easier to manage than a stroller in the forest. Inquire with your local leader for trail specifics. You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids

Q. How far do you "hike"?

A. As groups are child-led, families do not typically hike.  Groups go as far as children wander and feel comfortable.  Some teen groups explore further and in ways different than younger children.  Every week children explore and naturally find a space to play, or continue to explore.  Often, children will find a place they like and return every week.  

Q. What age can my child start to join?

A. All ages are welcome!   Many families attend with siblings, older children walking and baby in carrier.  The experience changes with each age and development.

Q. What is child-led exploration?

A. Child-led exploration gives children the ability to take the lead in the woods. Groups do not have a goal other than to be in a natural setting with children exploring. Enjoy as you watch all that unfolds! For more about this approach, you can read our post: 5 Ways to Approach Nature Like a Child.

Q. Is this a drop off group?

A. No.  All our groups require a parent or caregiver.  The entire family is welcome to join an exploration day!

Q. Does it cost anything to join? 

A. No. Forest Explorer Groups are free. Find a group to join on our Adventure Map.

Forest Creator Groups

Q. How is this different from the Explorers group?

A. The Forest Creators Group has a cost (Forest Explorers are free).  Forest Creators meet, sing a welcome song to introduce the project, walk to gather materials, and create a nature art project.  The project materials are placed out so children can participate when they are ready.  

Q. Is this a drop off group?

A. No.  All our groups require a parent or caregiver.

Q. What type of projects will we do?

A. Each project is open-ended allowing for full creativity from the child.  The projects use provided items as well as natural materials found in the forest.

Q. What age can my child join?

A. All ages are welcome, however, the suggested age for starting Forest Creators is two years old.  If your child turns two years old during the season, you are welcome to register as a participant.  Younger siblings, under the age of two are always welcome for free.

Q. What should I bring?

A. Plan to wear appropriate gear for the current season and weather, and to bring snacks/lunch, a change of clothes and water.  If your child is young, a baby carrier may be easier to manage than a stroller in the forest. Inquire with your local leader for trail specifics. You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids.

Q. Does the group meet if it is raining or snowing?

A. Yes, groups explore in all seasons and weather.  Gear and appropriate clothing helps prolong year-round enjoyment.  You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids.

Forest Discoverer Groups

Q. How is this different from the other groups?

A. The Forest Discoverer Group follows a nature-inspired curriculum, developed by educator and founder of Your Natural Learning, Leah McDermott. The program in action is designed to offer children an in-depth experience of discovering various aspects of the season. The group runs for 12 weeks over the course of a season, and each week offers a different theme, with activities to bring the theme to life, along with take-home resources to extend the discovery process. 

Q. Is this a drop off group?

A. No.  All our groups require a parent or caregiver. 

Q. What does a typical session look like?

A. Each week is focused on a different theme (i.e. sun, bugs, color, patterns, small parts, trees, etc.), with activities per week to bring the theme to life. Sessions usually run 90 minutes to two hours. 

Q. What age can my child join?

A. All ages are welcome, however, the suggested age for starting Forest Discoverers is two years old.  If your child turns two years old during the season, you are welcome to register as a participant.  Younger siblings, under the age of two are always welcome for free.

Q. What should I bring?

A. Plan to wear appropriate gear for the current season and weather, and to bring snacks/lunch, a change of clothes and water.  If your child is young, a baby carrier may be easier to manage than a stroller in the forest. Inquire with your local leader for trail specifics. You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids.

Q. Does the group meet if it is raining or snowing?

A. Yes, groups discover in all seasons and weather.  Gear and appropriate clothing helps prolong year-round enjoyment.  You can read more information on what to wear on our post: Outdoor Gear for Kids.

Leadership

Q. What kind of experience do I need to be a leader?

A. None! You do not need to have any formal training to be a leader, only the interest and commitment to be outdoors. As a leader you provide a day, time and location for others who are interested in enjoying the outdoors with you. You have the support of Forest School For All's resources, including personal access to FSFA's group consultant, Claudine. She can answer questions and guide you through the process of starting a group, as well as connect you with other group leaders for collaboration, if interested.

Q. How do I find a location?

A. You will brainstorm with our consultant, Claudine, to find the best location for your group.  Ideally, we look for a place that is away from playgrounds, in a public forest or park, and allows safe group parking.

Q. How will I promote my group?

A. Forest School For All creates a personalized group website for you to promote in your local area, along with statewide FSFA Facebook groups.  All group websites are listed on our main website and announced on social media channels. 

Q. What do I need to do the day the group meets?

A. Easy! Show up, greet your fellow family explorers and follow the children. 

Q. What if I'm unable to meet every week?

A. Of course, we want you to be able to meet according to your schedule. Your group can still meet without you, simply update them you are unable to attend or will be late. Also, you can find a fellow co-leader to help run your group, and in general to make things as easy as possible.