Riverside Nature School

Riverside Nature School is an outdoor early childhood program located on an old family farm in Charles Town, West Virginia. Our unique approach draws on best practices from the Forest School, Coyote Mentoring, and Reggio Emilia models. The bulk of our time is spent outdoors engaging in developmentally appropriate play-based learning and exploration. We are guided by the belief that all children deserve to have both a joyful childhood and a quality education. 


Why we're special:



We offer an authentic nature immersion program where students spend the majority of their time outdoors, year round, rain or shine, exploring the woods, fields, and gardens of our 80-acre property. 


We don't follow a pre-determined curriculum. Learning evolves organically though the children’s outdoor exploration and individual interests.


We emphasize process-based learning; the goal is for children to acquire knowledge in a meaningful way, not to reach a prescribed end goal. 


Adults serve as mentors and guides, modeling curiosity and compassion while giving children the space to learn and explore independently. 


Top 5 Benefits For Your Child:



Greater independence and self-confidence stemming from frequent opportunities to learn what their bodies are capable of and to assess risk through play.



Higher long-term academic achievement and executive functioning as a result of the self-control and problem-solving practiced through play. 



A deep and personal connection with the natural world, fostered through extensive unstructured outdoor playtime. 



Improved gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and balance, stronger immune systems, and better overall health as a result of frequent, vigorous outdoor activity. 



Significantly lower rates of behavioral problems and attention deficit disorders - as Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School says, "children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls."


What parents are saying...

Our daughters have had wonderful experiences at the Nature School! I was blown away by the thoughtful considerations made to reconnect our children with the natural world around them. On the one hand play in the mud kitchen was a throw back to simpler times when kids could freely explore the outdoors, on the other hand the complexity and depth of the play, imagination, teamwork, opportunities for growth in language, motor, math, science, and overall wellbeing were anything but simple. We could not be happier with our experiences!
— Pooja Aggarwal, Nature School Parent
Riverside Nature School has been a positive learning experience not only for my son, but the whole family. He constantly brings home new information to share with all of us. There is no comparable preschool in the area. Where else could your child run through fields, tap trees for syrup, explore icy puddles, have a goat for a playmate, and play in a mud kitchen all in one morning?
— Michelle Keene Vance, Nature School Parent

2018-2019 Hours & Rates:


Ages 3 to 5

M/W 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM


Ages 5 to 7

M/W 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM



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