Don't the children get cold in the winter?
Maybe you've heard the expression, "there's no wrong weather, only inappropriate clothing choices"? We say that a lot around here! We will work with you to make sure your child has the appropriate gear to be comfortable in all conditions. In addition, it's standard practice for us to keep a "warming fire" available during the coldest temperatures.
For the 2023-2024 school year, we're also excited for the addition of a schoolhouse that will allow us to shelter and learn indoors during the most severe weather.
What if there is severe weather?
In the event of forecasted severe weather, we will cancel forest school for the day. If we receive unexpected severe weather during forest school, we will move to our nearby emergency shelter. Severe weather means thunderstorms, high winds, flood warnings, etc. We will still have school and be outside in rainy and snowy conditions, as long as there are not more serious threats.
For the 2023-2024 school year, children will learn indoors on severe weather days. School will not be canceled unless road conditions make it hazardous to attend.
What are the qualifications of a guide at The Montessori Field School?
Lead Guides and Assistants are trained as Forest School teachers through the Forest School Teacher Institute. Lead Guides also hold a Montessori credential, an Indiana teaching license, and are CPR/First Aid certified.
What about safety?
We take safety very seriously and have thoughtfully-designed systems in place to make sure children have big fun without big risk. Some of these include very low adult:child ratios (1:6), clear boundaries, staff trained in CPR/First Aid, daily inspection/clearing of hazards in our forest school sites, work with families to support appropriate clothing choices, and extensive work at the start of the year establishing safety expectations with the children. In partnership, we also understand the importance of risky play and work diligently to ensure we are not barriers to a child's optimal physical and mental development. There will be scrapes and bruises, bug bites, tree climbing, some ticks, and the occasional poison ivy exposure...but there is important learning that goes along with all of those things and we are confident that the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks! Enrollment at The Montessori Field School is an intentional choice that says you welcome all of the experiences that accompany outdoor learning, including the occasional bandaid.
What will my child need to bring/wear?
Having appropriate clothing is crucial for each child's success when learning outdoors all of the time. We will work with you to make sure you are prepared! Our full list of required gear can be viewed in our family handbook. Children grow fast, so we recommend sizing up and leaving a little extra room. We host a family gear swap at the end of each school year for outgrown items.
For the 2023-2024 school year, rental of two waterproof outer layers (one insulated, one not) will be included in your supply fee. You can focus on making sure your child has suitable base/mid-layers and leave the (most expensive) outer layer to us!
What are your practices and policies around technology?
If you're considering MFS for your child, we anticipate your philosophy around technology is already similar to ours. In short, we think it can be a handy tool but do not want technology to have more of a presence in a child's development than the natural world. We may occasionally reference an app for some wildlife identification when our field guides fall short, but that's about it. Every adult over 30 is proof that you can have formative years without technology and still become proficient quickly when needed!
Outside of school, we encourage families to limit screen time. Especially for young children, it's valuable to be together when watching TV to discuss any confusing or scary themes that may come up. We particularly recommend not introducing any social media platforms to children, and hope MFS can provide the community of peers that have similar technology practices at home so children don't feel like they're "missing out" on something.
I'm interested in working or volunteering at The Montessori Field School. What should I do next?
We pride ourselves on providing a stellar work experience so our guides and staff want to stay forever! The pillars of employment at MFS include fair compensation, work/life balance, and a community of enthusiastic, like-minded educators. We know that when our staff is balanced and fulfilled, the children are the first to benefit! If you're interested in learning more about employment or volunteering at MFS, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be in touch.