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Naturally Curious

What are your favorite childhood memories?  Can you remember the feeling of accomplishment and wonder when you climbed your first tree?  When you close your eyes, do you still feel the cool rush of creek rippling around your toes?  The jolt of excitement and apprehension when a crawdad passes by?  Do you remember a time before we carried screens around in our pockets and the biggest decision ahead of you was where to dig for worms?

That magical world that so many of us had the good fortune of enjoying as children is still out there, though over time it's slowly been forgotten in favor of technology, organized activities, and pre-kindergarten programs that replace childhood with college prep.  When Heather Barger imagined a Montessori-inspired forest school in the Southern Indiana community, it's because she knew she needed to create the school experience she wanted for her own young children.  

We believe the natural world provides an exceptional classroom, inspiring wonder, independent learning, creativity, and critical thinking.  Our nature and Montessori-based curriculum supports a hands-on, experiential approach that nurtures the development of the whole child.  Most importantly, it creates space for children to have a childhood, running, climbing, digging, watching, building, trying, failing, and trying again.  Isn't that the very best gift we can give them?

Leaf Stem
connection to the outdoors

Our goal is to spend hundreds of hours outside every single year.  Hundreds of hours of the earth beneath our feet, hands in the mud, asking questions, breathing deeply, following our curiosities, and internalizing the great wonders and gifts of the natural world.

Image by Blake Cheek

Children are capable, and with guidance and opportunity can grow into skilled contributors.  Cooking, gardening, construction, animal care, plant identification, first aid, and survival skills are all integrated in the forest school experience.

Group of happy children lying on green grass outdoors in spring park.jpg

When children are engaging in unstructured imaginative play, they are discovering the fine art of socialization: negotiation, compromise, cooperation and teamwork. MFS offers children the opportunity to observe the interconnectedness of all living things and the unique way that teamwork is exemplified as creatures interact in the natural world. 

Image by Aaron Burden
inspired academics

We believe (and research supports) that children learn best when information is contextual.  That is why all academics stem from our rich ecological and historical setting and the explorations of the children in the natural world around them.

Image by Greg Rosenke
strong, healthy bodies

When children spend time immersed in nature, they are physically healthier. Studies have shown that playing in nature makes children more physically fit and strengthens their immune systems.  In doing so, they can discover their physical capabilities and their boundaries, learn to recognize risk, and learn to keep their balance.

Little boy facing challenge trying to climb a tree. Shallow depth of field..jpg

Childhood is a season of life that should be filled with adventure, and the source of that adventure should be the natural world.  From climbing rocks and trees to overnight campouts and creek crawls, every day will bring new and exhilarating challenges.

Image by Kostiantyn Li
the space to be still

When children are immersed in the natural world, it gives them time to be quiet and still, something that is a rarity in the busyness of our modern lives. This provides the child with the opportunity to reset their internal frenetic pace and experience a deep sense of calm.

Image by Nick Page
place based education

We believe in an immersive learning experience that places children in local landscapes and heritage, using these as the roots from which all learning stems.  If a child loves their backyard, their altruism will extend to the furthest reaches of the globe.


What are


Wildflower is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that support children, teachers, and parents. Wildflower aspires to give all children and families the opportunity to choose high quality, beautiful learning environments as they follow life’s unfolding journey.

Wildflower's aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home and school, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them.  Wildflower schools are small and teacher-led, with deep parent engagement. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

MFS Team

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.


Our Mission: 

To provide children high-quality education that nurtures the mind, body, and spirit through engagement in the natural world.

Founders of The Montessori Field School

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