Art and Science Kids outdoor preschool serves children ages 3 to 5 in Oregon's wild and beautiful Illinois Valley. Our home is a land of wild places, free flowing rivers, and abundant animal life. We believe that children thrive outdoors where their curiosity and imagination roam, all while they're building rich relationships with each other and the natural world. We teach fine and gross motor skills, social development, and perseverance to preschoolers while following a nature immersion model of education. We meet in public forests all seasons of the year to hike the trails, jump in puddles, look at bugs, and engage with the natural world through play and curiosity.
We're committed to igniting each child's imagination through our activities. Art and Science Kids paint, make crafts, sing songs, dance, and play music all in the great outdoors. We encourage children to teach and rely upon each other as a part of a school family, strengthening social skills such as empathy and mindfulness. Our preschool follows a daily rhythm that focuses on predictable routines and place-based activities to give the students structure while they explore their wild environment. Contact us today to register for our upcoming semester.
Monday - Thursday: 9am - 1pm
For most of the year, we meet four days a week from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Thursday, and are usually closed on Fridays. There is a three-week winter break and a one-week spring break. Monday holidays will have make-up days the following Friday. Monthly and annual schedules are available upon request.
Where do we meet? Outdoors of course!
Dogwood Forest is our home base located at 590 North Old Stage Road in Cave Junction. Here we have access to our own yurt, a campfire, and running water when we need a space of our own. This land was purchased with the support of our families who paid tuition, donated money, promoted our fundraisers, and volunteered to clean up, build fences and a shelter, and install our water line.
We regularly also meet at trail heads at Forks Park, Lake Selmac, Grayback Campground, and more. Ask us where we'll be this week!
Arts & Crafts
Early childhood experiences with creativity are central to your child's healthy development. Our art classes focus on providing materials and a creative environment for your child to explore and enjoy the process of making, rather than focusing on the product. Where possible, we use natural materials to create art works, and projects are child driven, with adults offering crafty activities for children to try. Stick buildings, rock sculptures, and sand castles are a common site at school. Many art works are temporary, and occasionally children may bring paintings, drawings or crafts home!
For young children, the most important scientific principle is observation. Being outside provides endless opportunities to observe, explore and ask questions. Observation doesn't just happen with our eyes! We dive into the natural world using our hands to explore textures, and pull things apart. We smell the seasons, the flowers, the rain, the mud; we listen to the birds and the wind; and we teach our preschoolers to identify plants, mushrooms, and wild animals. We use tools such as a magnifying glass, binoculars, turkey basters and shovels to inspect objects big and small, near and far.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.
- Mr. Rogers
Play is a central aspect to our teaching philosophy. Everyday, children are given the freedom to play outdoors, exploring their environment through their imagination and with each other. This approach supports happy, healthy, curious kids.
Our Daily Rhythm
11 AM - 12 PM
Adventure of the Day!
9 AM - 11 AM
Arts and Crafts
12 PM - 1 PM
Backpacks and Smiles!
Dismissal and pickup
School Closure and Extreme Weather
If a teacher is ill or our of town, school closure is unlikely since substitute teachers are available. We will not close because of ordinary weather events like rain, wind, snow, or cold temperatures. The parks have covered areas as does our head quarters in Cave Junction, and children should arrived dressed for the weather. If Three Rivers School Disctrict calls a delayed start due to snow or icy roads, we will start school one hour late at 10am, and finish at 1pm. If Illinois Valley schools call a snow day or cancel school, we will close as well. If we miss more than four days in a school year, we will reschedule those days at the end of the year or on Fridays.