Farm & Forest School
Once-a-Week Nature Programs for Ages 5-13
What is Farm & Forest School?
At Farm & Forest School, children ages 5-13 practice problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and compassion through hands-on, play-based outdoor learning.
Sessions are conducted primarily outdoors. Rain and snow don’t disrupt our day since most of our activities can take place no matter the weather. Some special activities are even reserved just for rainy/snowy days, so we get excited for precipitation! Indoor space is available in case of severe storms and a wood-fired warming tent is used in the winter.
Farm & Forest School is open to any child, ages 5-13 who is curious, independent, and excited to be outside. While traditionally thought of as a program for homeschoolers, we welcome all students with weekday availability to join us.
Each term of Farm & Forest School will follow seasonal themes. Topics covered may include weather, plant and animal identification, water cycle, food chains, survival and homesteading skills, herbalism, foraging, and gardening. Adult-led activities, paired with child-led forest freeplay time create the perfect environment for social, emotional, physical, and academic growth.
Each day includes two hours of facilitated educational activities. Lessons are taught in fun, hands-on ways that get kids actively engaged in the learning process. Most lessons involve games, getting messy, and lots of exploring. Specific activities and teaching methods will vary for different age groups.
6-Week Terms, year round, once-a-week on Tue. or Wed.*
4-Week Mini-Terms, once-a-week on Fri. or Sat.*
*Children may only attend one day a week UNLESS signed up for both a 6-Week Term and 4-Week Mini-Term happening consecutively.
Term 1: Sept. 19/20 - Oct. 24/25, 2023
Term 2: Oct. 31/Nov. 1 - Dec. 12/13, 2023 (No sessions Nov. 21 or 22)
Term 3: Jan. 9/10 - Feb. 13/14, 2024
Term 4: Feb. 20/21 - Mar. 26/27, 2024
Term 5: Apr. 9/10 - May 14/15 2024
Fall at the Farm: Sept. 22/23 - Oct. 13/14, 2023
Survival Skills: Oct. 27/28 - Nov. 17/18, 2023
Maple Camp: Feb. 9/10 - Mar. 1/2, 2024
Get Growing: Apr. 26/27 - May 17/18, 2024
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
5-13 years old. Groups will be divided by age (ages 5-7, 8-10, and 11-13). Please contact us before registering if you’d like to discuss placement in a group that matches your child’s social/emotional development better than grouping by age. Teens ages 14+ may register as apprentices to learn and assist with younger children.
$300 per 6-week term. $200 per 4-week mini-term. A $50 per child deposit is due at the time of registration for each term. Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. 10% discount for siblings registered for the same term. 10% multi-term discount when registering a child for three or more terms at the same time. Financial assistance is available for all youth programs. Requests can be made on the registration form. Final payment is due two weeks prior to the start of each term (see Farm & Forest School FAQs for specific due dates). Cancellations made with at least 2-weeks notice are eligible for a refund, minus the deposit.
Year-Round Nature: 6-Week Terms (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Sunbury Urban Farm's 6-Week Farm & Forest School terms take place from Sept. to May each school year. Many children participate in Farm & Forest School for the entire school year, while other families pick just one or two terms that to fit into their homeschool plan. Each term begins with icebreakers, name games, and intro activities so new students can feel comfortable starting at any point during the year.
During the 2023-2024 school year, each child will receive a book to write in and keep. These books will guide and inspire our outdoor learning. Books will be given to each child during their first term of the school year, whether that is is Term 1 or Term 5. Kids can jump into their book at any point, so don't worry if they're not starting at the beginning of the school year!
Ages 5-7 will be using Backpack Explorer: Discovering Trees, while ages 8 and up will be using Outdoor School: Tree, Wildflower, and Mushroom Spotting.
If your child will be turning 8 during the school year, we'll discuss whether you'd like them to start the year in the 8 year old group or stay in the 5-7 year old group for the entire school year. In order to maintain consistency and routine, children will stick with the same book/group for the entire school year.
One book will be provided to each participant.
Upcoming 4-Week Mini-Terms (Friday/Saturday):
Fall at the Farm
4-Week Mini-Term Begins Sept. 23/23
Fall fun takes many forms at this awesome autumn adventure! Join us as we make snacks using fall fruits and veggies, explore the colors of the season, create craft projects, practice seasonal homesteading skills, and more!
4-Week Mini-Term Begins Apr. 26/27
Dig into the garden this spring as we investigate what both plants and people need to be healthy, make garden plans, grow seedlings, and make garden crafts to take home. We'll use all of our senses to explore the goodness of the garden, including our sense of taste!
4-Week Mini-Term Begins Oct. 27/283
Learn what it takes to survive in the wilderness! Practice bushcraft skills like tending a campfire (try starting one with and without matches), building shelter, knot tying and knife use, and first aid while building a survival kit to take home.
4-Week Mini-Term Begins Feb. 9/10
Explore the sweet science of maple syrup making! This is no show-and-tell session; maple enthusiasts will do it all – identify and measure the trees to find the right ones to tap, collect sap, chop firewood, and tend to the fire as we boil sap into delicious maple syrup. On the final day, we’ll celebrate our success with a homemade pancake feast!