At Piedmont Forest School, we are committed to providing an authentic forest school experience for young children, ages 9 months to 14 years of age. We offer progressive, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate programs for children of all backgrounds and levels of ability.
The seeds for Piedmont Forest School were planted in 2018 at Little Creek Park and Greenway in Winston-Salem, NC with the launching of an exciting and edifying summer camp experience for children in the summers of 2019 and 2020.
Sheri Grace, PhD. – an early-childhood expert and one of the founders of the summer camp – envisioned an environment where children of all economic and cultural backgrounds could access and benefit from this forest school experience. With the help of Cole Kampen, then Chair of the PFS Board, this vision was not only realized, but expanded, and Piedmont Forest School was founded as a non-profit in the fall of 2020 and began programming in Oak Ridge in 2021. Additionally, with the support from our Board members and the families of the children we serve, Piedmont Forest School has been able to steadily grow and refine its practices and protocols, blossoming into an essential, vibrant resource for our community.
While an increasing share of a child's typical day is spent indoors, we believe that frequent and extended time in nature is essential. The outdoor environment provides a beautifully stimulating learning arena for children of all ages. Through a partnership with trained educators, children thrive in all developmental areas at Piedmont Forest School, including STEM, literacy and language (English and Spanish), as well as social, emotional, creative, and physical development. With our focus being self-directed play in nature, children are able to develop many skills during each activity. This opportunity for integrated learning results in learning that sticks over the long term!
We offer progressive, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate programs for children of all backgrounds and levels of ability. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we welcome a diverse group of forest school learners at our two sites, serving nearly 100 children every week between both sites in the 2021-2022 school year. We are excited to be providing such valuable, and dare say essential, early childhood experiences to the families in our communities!
The mission of Piedmont Forest School is to provide to children of all abilities and backgrounds authentic forest school and nature-based education programs which foster the development of the whole child, while engendering in them a love of and a commitment to caring for the natural world.
We envision progressive and equitable educational programs where children of all abilities and backgrounds learn together year-round through creative play while immersed in nature.