"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it." --David Sobel


Many early childhood experts believe physical activity and unstructured free play are two main ways to learn and grow developmentally. Unfortunately, both of these ideas are usually lacking at typical early development centers. Play is usually directed by adults and students are more likely expected to sit still to complete worksheets and trace letters and numbers. What if there was a better way to facilitate early childhood education?

Catchin' crayfish


Children climbing on their favorite tree

The Concept of "nature school" or "forest kindergarten" is a form of early child education based on the German model of "Waldkindergraten" or "forest school". Learning takes place almost entirely outside and in all seasons. Children learn in a natural environment with an adult who encourages curiosity-driven play.

Earth n' Root Nature Group meets at the beautiful Green Gate Farm in Shepherdstown, WV and draws inspiration from a Reggio Emilio, Maria Montessori, and Forest school by not having a set curriculum; It is entirely child-led learning and can include:

  • Exploring woods discovering plants and animals
  • Recognizing patterns in nature
  • Splashing in a creek looking for crayfish and minnows
  • Improving balance by climbing and jumping over rocks, trees, and stumps
  • Using mud to make art or as "food" in a pretend kitchen

Children have a chance to observe changes in the natural world and learn about each season. An adult is nearby to assist or encourage discussion, but never intrudes unless safety is a concern.

Child holding a worm


Identifying Fungi

Our Mission

We believe that open-ended, child led, interactive play in the natural world should be the main focus in childhood learning. The main goal of Earth n' Root Nature Group is to allow our children to grow with:

  • A greater sense of independence
  • Improved self confidence
  • Problem solving skills


  • Enhanced fine and gross motor skills
  • A deeper connection to the outdoors
  • A chance to be creative thinkers


"My daughters have been attending Earth n Root with Ms. Jen for two years and absolutely love it! The kids are allowed to explore and play in an environment that fosters cooperation, kindness, and problem solving. Earth n Root is the school I wish I had as a kid!"

-- Sarah (Parent of two)


"Earth n' Root was my daughter's first "school" experience and it could not be more perfect for her. She has thrived in this amazing group and it is a great addition to our homeschool curriclulum."

-- Ashley


"Earth n Root has been a vital and much adored addition to my two children's earth-centered home education and I couldn't be happier with how thoughtful and attentive Ms. Jen and Ms Joy have been. Simply a brilliant little group that provides exactly what young children need: freedom to explore, fresh air, and plenty of playtime"

-- Joanie (Parent of two)

Think Earth n' Root might be a good fit for your child?
Contact Us!

2022 / 2023 Hours and Tuition

Children ages 3 - 7
(Child must be potty trained for enrollment)

Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday
9:00 am - 12:00 pm


any 2 day week

3 day week

$250 / month
$375 / month