Woolly Bears

Half Day Program in Rocky Ripple
Ages 3-4

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February 15, 2024 at 12pm noon: Forest School Enrollment begins!
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Program Overview

White Pine’s Woolly Bears (ages 3-4) spend their days on explorations as we exercise key components of our curriculum: free play, social and emotional learning, resilience, self-empowerment, and nature immersion. Our highly-trained, experienced instructors get down on their level to support their learning and care for them as they grow throughout the whole school year. Their reverence for the Earth will grow as their confidence in themselves is nurtured.

Our Woolly Bears program is an alternative to traditional preschool programs. We balance lots of free play with guided nature lessons using our unique, hands-on curriculum that focuses on deep connection with nature. We practice core routines throughout the year, tailored special for our youngest explorers: foraging, interacting with fire, witnessing animal life, climbing, jumping, digging, hiding, chasing, singing, dancing, and listening to stories. They will begin their life-long journey as a child of the Earth splashing in creeks, tiring out their little legs on hikes, digging for worms, falling down, playing with sticks, picking up rocks, and making friends. They will be invited to listen to the forest and to talk back to it, asking for permission from plants and animals, and expressing gratitude at every opportunity for what our Earth Mother does to care for us.

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Program Location

Our Woolly Bears program is located at our Rocky Ripple campus, our home base since 2014. Rocky Ripple is a quiet neighborhood, tucked in between the Indianapolis Canal and the Wapahani (White) River, and is loved by many for it’s peace and quiet. Here, we explore the beautiful woods and shorelines of the river to connect ourselves to nature.

Our campus is a private, partially-fenced space with everything you’d need for having fun learning about nature: an archery range, flint-napping area, climbing wall, primitive cob house, multiple fire pits, a yurt, a tree house, super-high monkey bars, chicken coop, skinning area, wood splitting area, individual lockers for gear, a climbing rope/swing, and so much more.

We adventure into the woods almost daily, just blocks from our campus. Rocky Ripple is a riparian habitat, exhibiting traits from both terrestrial and aquatic systems. So what do we find? Sycamore trees, wild ginger, crawdads, chickweed, sunfish, turtles, red-tailed hawks, barred owls, burdock, an occasional coyote in the distance, and so much more.

Program Structure

Woolly Bears (ages 3-4) meet from 9:00am-11:30am on Wednesdays. For 2024-2025, Woolly Bears will meet from 9:00am-1:00pm on Wednesdays.

We meet at a consistent location, with the same group of peers and teachers through the whole school year. We have a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:5. We have 8 units per school year, centered around the changing of the seasons. Many families choose to stay the entire 8 units each year, but it is not required.

We are outside 99% of the time, with students only going inside in the case of restroom breaks, extreme heat or cold, or severe weather threats.

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per week
per month
*Thanks to our generous donors, we are able to offer financial aid.
Please visit the Ethan Runnels Memorial Scholarship page to apply for your family.

Program Team

Jack Pain

Course Director, Fire Chief

Yadira Ayala

Forest School Woolly Bears Lead Instructor, Forest School Flying Squirrels Lead Instructor

Nigel Cronin

Woolly Bears Lead Instructor