The Village Nest grew out of an immediate need and desire to keep our forest school, formerly at the Kittery Community Center, open during the COVID-19 Epidemic. No one could have imagined the magic that would unfold after that immediate need. When the Global Pandemic closed the program, Jess knew she needed to do something to help families in the community and she acted. Within just three months, she was able to open Maine's first fully-outdoor Preschool program.
At our new nest, our families and team are committed to supporting our children to socialize and grow to their potential in the best learning environment possible: the forest. This also happens to be a safer environment to play and teach during COVID. Children laugh, play, and thrive in their outdoor environment with opportunities to be fully immersed in nature-play.
When asked why Forest Play, the answer is simple: "I was sick of having children kicked out of my indoor classroom due to neurodivergence and development that were beyond the control of the child or their parents. Outdoors, children have less unnatural stimuli and are able to grow according to their own needs. We are able to focus on self-regulation and teaching emotional intelligence so that children can thrive rather than be expected to do things that their bodies are simply not developed enough or ready for!" Outdoor education needs to be accessible for all!
Children do everything they would do inside, but we do it outside without the walls. We have a seasonal "reverse" or "emergent" curriculum where children get to decide what they want to learn about and educators facilitate and support that learning by matching the standards to the lessons that are already organically happening. We even nap outdoors under the tree canopy.
Our mission is a very simple one: KEEP KIDS MUDDY! We want to keep the childhood in Early Childhood Education and allow children to do their work... PLAY!