Outside Kids Ocean Forest Kindergarten is a small entirely outdoor preschool and kindergarten for children ages 3 to 6. Our program operates out of public parks and beaches in the Atlantic Beach area from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday, on a typical school year basis from August through May. We also offer summer camp on a weekly enrollment basis in June and July.
Our curriculum is primarily influenced by the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten approach which emphasizes full nature immersion and an emergent, child-led learning program. Our childcare philosophy is representative of Lifeways North America's approach which prioritizes relationship-based care reflected in low student to teacher ratios, practicing the "living arts," and bringing music, seasonal craft work, and timeless stories to the children. Our school was founded on these influences and our teachers hold certifications in training for both.
Outside Kids was founded in 2018 when Lynn Coalson's story-telling events for young children took off on Dutton Island. With a decades-long background in education, qualifications in Cedarsong's forest kindergarten model, and a full education in Lifeway's early childcare curriculum, Lynn was confident she could meet the growing need for nature immersion in early childhood. For Lynn, Outside Kids is a combination of the commitments she has prioritized her whole life: learning through exploration, health through nutrition and movement, and emotional well-being through relationships. In holistic education, these three aspects are understood as the head, hands, and heart. Lynn believes in educating the whole child. After years of working in different educational environments, she was left with the burning question: "Why shouldn't school be fun?" And so, Outside Kids was born!