Forest Gang is a 100% outdoors toddler program designed for 2-5 year olds who are mostly or completely potty trained, and ready for a drop off program. Forest Gang runs in seasons/semesters, Monday through Friday, from 9am-12pm at Willamette Park, without any fences or barriers. Instructors set boundaries and limits for participants, and students must be willing and able to follow those guidelines. This presents challenges that indoor programs don't have and opportunities for learning that can similarly only occur in this special environment.
Forest Gang is largely free play based and instructors follow the group's energy and desires for each day. If you'd like to read more about the benefits of free play and outdoor exploration, check out the following articles.
Free play & Outdoor Exploration
Each week, instructors offer and discuss a weekly theme or "block" as a stimulus for discovery. This theme will be the intention and focus of the week. Insects, weather patterns, first aid, foraging, dinosaurs, etc are all examples of possible themes.
Each day the group follows this general rhythm.
9-9:20 Drop Off with optional manipulative/sensory activity
9:30 Morning circle and movement time
9:45 Nature walk and discovery
10:30 Snack time
11:00 Optional nature based activity or craft
11:30 Walk to home base
11:50 playground time
12:00 parent pick up
Coyle Outside staff use this program for their own children, including the owner. This provides extra real time motivation to make this program great every day and an opportunity to share the experience with other participant families. We hope to see you in the mornings.
refer to our group euphemistically as "gang" in order to emphasize
interdependence and promote an environment of socialization.
Based on theories and practices associated with the Forest School movement to books like "Last Child in the Woods," we
Instructors for this program are background and reference checked and attend Coyle Outside's Outschool Training. Parents can expect a check in from instructors after each class and the chalk board at the shelter will have specifics of activities covered each day.
If you are interested in your child joining Forest Gang, please go to our registration page for the current season's registration links.
If you are interested in shadowing Forest Gang with your child, we offer shadow days the last two weeks of each term. If you are wanting to shadow for Fall Forest Gang, please contact us in August to schedule a shadow day within the final two weeks of summer programming. If you miss this opportunity, we will host a Family Night after term has started, and any interested families are welcome to attend this event to ask questions, meet the staff, and have a hands on experience to see if the program is a good fit for your child (registration availability varies at this point in the term).
Please reach out to Ashleah with any questions at 541-554-0797 or email@example.com
Joining Forest Gang
Instructors and participants spend time playing, discovering new interpersonal skills while making new friends, and developing new creative and physical capacities. Nature play led largely by the participants' imagination is the name of the game here. Instructors and participants introduce themes such as foraging, harvest, and seasons in the interdependent context of weather, activities and discoveries.
The preschool age is a critical stage for socioemotional development. Being outside sharing space and activity with peers of differing ages provides healthy sensory stimulation and developmentally critical social experiences.