Minneapolis, MN 9/17/2014
I sought out The Forest School of Minnesota because my son loves being outside. He's now been part of the school for 9 months. He loves it. He always comes home happy and shares his experiences of the day. He has learned better manners than I would have taught him at home. We have had only positive experiences with the teachers at the school.Having an older child, I've had a few interactions with preschool faculty in Minneapolis. I've been more than pleased with the honesty that Michele has provided me in regards to my son's abilities and personality. It is a very good fit for our family. The environment is supportive of reaching one's full potential. There is also a reverence for imagination and childhood all while preparing kids for kindergarten.
Minneapolis, MN 9/20/2014
Both of my children spent the last 3 years at The Forest School, my youngest daughter starting at only 19 months, and I could not recommend it more highly.
Compared to the impersonal cookie cutter approach of mainstream education for children (even in the good preschools and kindergartens) The Forest School is truly an holistic wnoie-cnna approacn ana community oi ootn cnnaren ana parents.
Assuming you are prepared to be engaged and honest in helping your child develop (including honestly tackling any social or behavioral issues they encounter) the school provides wonderfully creative and individual attention.
If you just want somewhere to drop your kid off for a few hours a day and not hear any feedback about their development or socialization this isn’t the right place to try! Michele won't try to fool you or just paint a rosy picture of things, she has an innate skill for seeing things that are sometimes hard to look at. But she WILL work with them (and get results) if you are willing to work with them too.
It is a small, selective school with real beliefs and individual approaches for each child's needs. It's not a mass school for all. It can't and doesn't accept all possible applicants. That's hard for some applicants who don't really research what they are applying for. but better for all in the long run.
Small points worth noting - it is truly outside (except in the most dramatic extremes) and embraces all weathers, which the kids love, and Michele makes sure all are prepared and comfortable no matter what.
The food provided is fresh, healthy, natural and organic, putting to shame at times even our own homegrown & coop bought efforts.
Michele, her teaching assistant (and indeed Michele's family) are wonderful and strong role models as well as friends to the students there.
Incidentally, my daughter was diagnosed with a chronic condition requiring shots during the day. Michele did not miss a beat, and my daughter was back out with the Forest School THE NEXT DAY with Michele assuming responsibility for her meds after training. I trust her absolutely.
All in all, it was an amazing and truly unique start- my daughters are now in grade school and this school is recognized and respected as an outstanding foundation. They are well mannered (Forest School kids are remarked on in the neighborhood for their behavior), at ease with adults and children alike and excited and curious to learn.
Our only wish was that they could have stayed there for longer!
Minneapolis, MN 9/19/2014
My son Jaggath have been going to Forest School for last 3 years and he loves the school. The experience he gets there is amazing. We love FSMs nature immersion program. The kids here gets groomed nicely before they step in to their Kindergarden. Even during very hot summer or harsh winter, they go out and have fun to the fullest. I totally recommend this school.
Minneapolis, MN 4/18/2012
This is an outstanding program. I could not be happier with this experience for my son (3 years old) and our family. Michele has many years of teaching experience and is enthusiastic, supportive, knowledgeable, and loving. My son loves going to school.
Minneapolis, MN 9/18/2011
Our son (2.5 years) is in his fourth month at The Forest School and we cannot say enough about what a positive experience it has been for him. The founder of the school, Michele, created The Forest School
with a genuine vision to allow our children to have a multifaceted, multicultural, deeply caring, fun and educational learning environment. The Forest School is a true nature immersion school. The children spend their day outside and learn through the "teachable" moments that nature provides.
Our son is genuinely excited to go to school, and we are happy knowing he is in a safe and loving environment that inspires and encourages his curiosity.
Minneapolis, MN 9/17/2011
I concur with Allison C.'s review. Our 3 year-young son began at the Forest School this summer and it has been a transformative experience for him and us. Michele treats each student as an individual. She works with them to foster leadership skills, cooperation, creativity, patience, kindness, and understanding of their bodies. If there are any behavioral or developmental challenges of the child, she works creatively with the children and parents to help address them at home and at school. Our son is better at sharing, cooperation and listening because of Michele's care and investment in his development. What we really like is the idea that the day's agenda is dictated by the children's pace in exploring on their way to the forest or lake, or elsewhere. It is not focused on getting the children to learn to read, write or be potty trained before they are ready.
Still, she incorporates these skills daily by teaching them to write their names with their fingers in the sand or snow, or to read the street signs, for example. What we also like is that our son interacts with children between the ages of 2-6, so he learns to help out younger students while also learning from the older students. The groups are small, and as Allison mentioned, Michele works with you on your schedule and the budget. We feel very fortunate to have found her especially since so many "nature" schools are popping up when in fact they don't spend most of the time outside. How will that work in the winter? Just as it did when we were kids. They don't stay outside the entire time when it's very cold. They come inside and get cozy and then go out again! What do they do when it rains? They put on a rain jacket and pants and go puddle jumping! It's a real nature immersion school that teaches our son the appreciation of his environment and all its living creatures and how he relates to that environment in space and time. In that respect, he learns about his own body, his emotions, and himself.
Minneapolis, MN 9/16/2011
y daughter (age 3 years) began attending Michele's program this summer and I cannot say enough good things about it. Michele is gentle, patient, and really cares about cultivating an inclusive and welcoming environment as Kids explore and discover from their outdoor surroundings. I've noticed a marked difference in not only my daughter's behavior, but also her intellectual curiosity and attention to detail. If you believe in a program that fosters inclusiveness, and allows kids to be KIDS by getting dirty, exploring, taking risks in a supervised manner, and allows the day to flow and progress naturally rather than rigidly structuring and controlling the environment then this is the perfect place for your child. Another bonus is that the director is very flexible with regards to schedule and budget, and doesn't require children to be potty-trained (which I know can be a source of stress if your child isn't quite there yet but you feel they need school). A gem!