My son’s friend came over the other day. Both boys have attended Pine Forest School since kindergarten and are about to enter their final year there, eighth grade. I asked my son’s friend if he’s ready to go back to school. He said, “I can’t wait to go back. I really like school.” In the presence of my son I asked him what he likes best about Pine Forest. They both looked at each other and laughed saying “No Homework!” This is a bit of a myth, because they definitely have some, but not enough to overwhelm. The majority of the work happens during the school day. Prodding them a bit more about what they like they expressed the number of field trips, learning in the field is a big part of the curriculum. They have been to a number of places including Catalina Island Marine Institute, Chaco Canyon, Arches National Park, and the San Juan River, to name a few. This year they may venture to Washington D.C. or Hawaii!
As a parent, Pine Forest has given my son the ability to socially interact in a way many other schools do not. The work on cooperative communication is tremendous. Children are actively solving problems together. There is a genuine respect for one another and a lack of judgment for those who are “different”. There is no teaching to the test, rather teaching to be successful in real life. There is a reverence for beauty instilled, beauty in the natural world. They get their hands dirty planting outside and building. There is a strong focus on the arts, singing, painting, and playing music. Probably the biggest myth of all about Pine Forest is that there is not enough focus on reading, writing, and math. This has been a false perception of many in the community. Academics are simply not the only focus. Whole human beings are being developed, something lacking in our society today. I am so grateful for this school and the person my son is turning out to be.
To learn more about Pine Forest visit http://pineforestschool.org