14140 NW Newberry Rd
Portland, OR 97231
Wildwood Nature School is a preschool located on 11 rural acres in Portland where children can learn from the natural world as well as a thoughtfully designed indoor environment.
|Play- based||mostly teacher led||not formally in curriculum||conducive environment|
|Nursery rhymes, poems, songs|
|Emerging literacy skills|
|Math & number sense|
|Time & space||
|Sci. reasoning/physical world||
|Other subjects taught||Spanish In addition to informal play and interactions with our Spanish-speaking instructor, children participate in circle-time songs, games, and movement activities in Spanish on a twice weekly basis.|
From the Director:
At Wildwood Nature School, we believe that: * Children learn best through play. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, play in an enriching environment helps children become successful learners. Through play, they develop social competency, memory, language, and mathematical skills crucial to later school success. * Preschools can be both developmental and academic. By ensuring that goals and activities are appropriate to each individual childâ€™s abilities and needs, teachers challenge them to grow in a creative, multi-disciplinary direction. * Optimal learning occurs when children are interested and motivated. Wildwood Nature School borrows child-focused methods of Waldorf, Montessori, and the schools of Reggio Emilia to adapt the curriculum to each group of children. * Early learning is interdisciplinary. For a young child, cognitive, physical, and emotional development are interrelated. Wildwood Nature School develops the whole child with experiences combining art, science, language, literacy, emotional growth, math, and movement. * Children learn side by side with each other and adults in a supportive â€œfamilyâ€ of explorers. The multiage setting allows children to learn through observations and interactions. * Teachers are reflective learners alongside the children.
Wildwood Nature School owner and lead teacher, Nicole Fravel, is a certified teacher, museum educator, and curriculum writer with over 18 years of experience educating young children. She holds a Masterâ€™s of Education from Stanford University and keeps up to date with current research and practices through memberships in the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association.
Ms. Fravel began her career teaching in public elementary schools and an Even Start preschool before accepting a challenge to help close the achievement gap for African American and Latino children. She served as School Partnership Director for a non-profit consulting organization working with schools in low-income communities.
In 2005, wanting to spend less time on the road and more time with her own children, Ms. Fravel accepted a position as early childhood educator at a well-regarded childrenâ€™s museum, supervising programs for children under 5. In addition to creating programs for the museum floor, she created and delivered parent-child art, music, and science workshops for toddlers and preschoolers and outreach programs with nonprofit partners such as Head Start and the United Way. The educational curriculum she created for the museum includes a 10-week PeeWee Mariachi program combining music and language learning for toddlers and preschoolers; math, science, music, and art curricula for museum outreach programs; K-3 classroom guides for teachers to use in conjunction with school field trips to the childrenâ€™s museum; and a pre-K through grade 5 educational curriculum for a science and math based exhibit that was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
In her various positions, Ms. Fravel has trained Americorps workers and college-aged museum staff on such topics as, â€œLearning Through Play,â€ â€œThe Stages of Infant Development,â€ and â€œTeaching Writing to ESL Students.â€ She has been an invited presenter at the San Jose Smart Start conference, conducting workshops on combining music and art with literacy and math instruction.
Wildwood Nature School serves children and families with quality early childhood education based on current research and best practices in childhood psychology, cognition, and learning.
A typical day at Wildwood Nature School includes:
* Self-guided exploration - A generous amount of time for self-guided exploration and experimentation, both indoors and out.
* Teacher-led group time - The teachers take great care in creating a welcoming indoor environment designed to enable childrenâ€™s growth across cognitive, social/emotional, linguistic, and physical domains.
* Individualized instruction - Materials and activities are tailored to the current group of students and change as the childrenâ€™s needs change.
* Outdoor play â€“ rain or shine - Children need to be dressed for the weather as each class spends a block of time outside each day, rain or shine. Outdoor activities include a play structure, sand box, water play, messy art, gardening, and gross motor toys (balls, hula hoops, balance beams).
* Self-selected play - Classroom centers include block play, dramatic play, two- and three-dimensional art, sensory play, natural collections, reading, and science.
* Teacher-led indoor and outdoor group explorations - Children participate in teacher-led group explorations both inside and outside. Indoor circles always include a story and are a time for focused instruction on any educational subject â€“ math, reading, art, music, Spanish, science, social studies, physical movement â€“ or combination of subjects. Outdoor group activities include cooperative games, nature trail hikes, gardening, and gross motor development. Group lessons usually end with time for individual exploration guided by a teacher.
* Healthy vegetarian snack - A healthy, vegetarian snack is prepared on-site each day, often with the childrenâ€™s assistance. The entire class sits together to enjoy the meal, including teachers and visiting parents. Meals are served family-style to encourage conversation, self-help skills, healthy choices, and community.
For many children,Wildwood Nature School is the first experience away from parents. We work with families to help each child deal with separation anxiety in a way that makes sense for him or her.