Forest Kindergarten in the Middlesex Fells
The Friends of the Fells offers weekly classes for our youngest forest learners (ages 4-5) in two time slots: morning (9-11:30 AM) and early afternoon (12:30-3 PM) at the Botume House, 4 Woodland Road, in Stoneham. Please see the Fall 2017 schedule for full details.
Summer will follow our traditional full-week schedule. There is also programming for older children (ages 6-10) available (see Youth Programs page for details).
Note: If you join the Friends of the Fells at friendsofthefells.org/join/, you will be eligible for a $25 discount. (See below for details.)
Fall 2017 registration available: friendsofthefells.org/fells-forest-programs-fall/.
Forest Kindergarten provides nature-based learning opportunities for children to engage in a self-guided exploration of the forest, helping develop their curiosity, critical thinking, and sense of connection with nature. Our highly-trained instructors use positive reinforcement to build empathy and communication about the natural world.
Unlike our other family programs, Forest Kindergarten allows parents to drop their children off for a period of up to 2.5 hours each day. We take shelter indoors in the case of heavy rain or lightning, but children otherwise spend the entire time outdoors exploring Spot Pond and the adjacent forest. This place-based, rain-or-shine approach to education lets children connect meaningfully with our shared environment.
Spring class sessions will be capped at six (6) children per day and will be canceled during weeks if fewer than four (4) children are enrolled. Summer classes will allow up to ten (10) children and will likewise be canceled during weeks if fewer than four (4) children are enrolled. A minimum of two (2) instructors will be present at all times.
The total cost for each session varies according to the schedule. We offer limited financial assistance to those in need, and invite those who wish to inquire about this option to contact Ann Frenning Kossuth, our Youth Programs Director.
As a special thank-you, all Friends of the Fells members have the opportunity receive a $25 discount off one registration per child. To find out whether your Friends of the Fells membership is current or learn about becoming a member, visit our Join page. The discount pays for itself with a family membership, and your generosity also helps to pay for our programming and financial aid for others.
To register for 2017 Forest Kindergarten, please choose one of the sessions on the registration website. You will be taken to a page that will allow you to enter your registration information and pay the registration fee.
Member/Non-member Registration Options
The availability of the member preregistration period and Friends of the Fells member discount are on the honor system. If you are not a Friends of the Fells member and you register early or at the discounted rate, your registration will be cancelled and offered to someone on the waiting list.
The discounted member registration rate is available once per child. If you have multiple children you are registering, you can use the discount once for each of them. If you are registering a child for more than one week, the discount may only be used once.
Thanks for your interest in the Friends of the Fells Forest Kindergarten!
Building our success this summer, the Friends of the Fells now offers Youth Programs this fall for older forest learners (ages 6-10). All instructors for our Youth Programs will be CPR/First Aid certified and will have passed a CORI background check. All youth programs for younger learners will depart from the historic Botume House, 4 Woodland Road, Stoneham.
Please respect our age ranges, and please know that we can no longer issue refunds, but we may be able to give you credit for other programs, and please work with us to let us know about your child’s needs. Thank you.