Years ago, my husband Bret and I had a family dream to use the world as our classroom. During a trip to Denmark we visited a public school and were inspired by the obvious differences. Bikes that lined the sidewalks were evidence of the students’ (and their parents’) primary mode of transportation - rain or shine. A rock-climbing wall acted as stairs between levels for energetic students who were also met by hallway obstacle courses to conquer between classes. Family-style meals were prepared onsite with fresh, whole ingredients from the school garden, which neighbored the children’s farm animals. It planted a seed in us.
When we met Garrett and Barbara Smith, owners of LIttle Earth Forest School in Ojai, CA, through a series of synchronistic events and heard about the remarkable success the students in their school were having, the seed that was planted in us sprouted to life.
The idea of providing a wholistic advanced education in nature, that fosters resilience, confidence, connection and social skills, while seamingly integrating academics was a dream come true for our family, and we decided to make this opportunity available to the children and families of our beloved community in central Iowa.
We’re literally using the world as our classroom as we open central Iowa’s first and only full-time pre-k through 5th grade forest school. If you are dreaming of a better, human-centered, wholistic education for your children, like we did for ours, we are here to answer all of your questions and show you the possibilities.
Alison, Bret, Millie, Gus Van De Pol
Little Earth - Dallas Center