Southern Utah Nature School


What is Nature School?

Nature School, also known as Forest School or Forest Kindergarten, is an outdoor education model focused on building relationships between people and place, through regular and repeated access to the same natural space. In Nature School, children are given the space and time to immerse themselves in play, exploration, and creative projects. Teachers serve as mentors, facilitators, and co-conspirators, providing resources and support to further the learning that naturally arises out of children’s play.

Is my child ready for Nature School?

Before joining Nature School, children must be able to use the bathroom independently, including telling a teacher when they need to go and walking the distance to the bathrooms. For safety reasons, they must be able to answer when called and follow basic instructions from teachers. It is important that children are not prone to running away or hiding when upset – this becomes a serious safety hazard in outdoor spaces without walls or fences. Children in drop-off programs should be comfortable and ready to join a class without their parents.  

What do you do to ensure safety?

At SUN School, all teachers are certified in First Aid and CPR, and trained in how to recognize and mitigate outdoor hazards. Risk assessments are conducted for each class site and activity, and small class sizes mean that teachers can keep a close eye on all children. Our philosophy is not to eliminate all risk, since a certain amount of age-appropriate risk is essential to building healthy and resilient children. We empower children to take an active role in risk assessment, teaching them about outdoor hazards, safety and risk management.

Why are classes made up of mixed-age groups?

Will my child be at a disadvantage because they are the oldest or the youngest? 

We might be used to children being divided by age in school and other activities, but there are actually many benefits for children in mixed-age groups. Younger children are able to watch and follow the examples of older children, while older children gain valuable leadership skills. With everyone at different ages and abilities, competitive feelings can be set aside, and children learn to recognize both their own strengths and those of their peers. Children also have the opportunity to remain in the same group for multiple years, fostering a deeper sense of belonging and community.

What should my child bring?

Children should come in comfortable, lightweight clothing that can get dirty, with closed-toed shoes and a hat. Please apply sunscreen and bug spray (optional) before they arrive. They should bring a backpack containing:

  • water in a refillable water bottle
  • a healthy and energizing snack
  • an extra set of clothing (shirt, pants, underwear, socks) 
  • An extra layer (fleece or a jacket) in colder months

What do you do in case of inclement weather?

We believe in the Scandinavian saying that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing”. With proper layers, children can stay comfortable and warm in cold, windy or wet weather, and with access to water and shade children can stay cool on hot days. We will help you determine the best clothing layers for different times of the year. We occasionally may need to cancel class for extreme weather conditions, such as lightning storms.

Want to know more about our programs?

Contact us today about class sizes, locations, and times.

Call Us

(435) 525-5511