We are a nature-oriented private school, following a progressive model, with mixed age classes.

Students in our school learn much of the same content that can be found in other schools serving the same grade levels, but our approach is different. We aim to spend almost half of the day outside and aim for a balanced mix of outdoor activity and academics.  We have small mixed-age classes with dedicated instructors who are able to provide both support and challenge to each individual in the class. It is the students themselves who take command of their own scholarship, doing so because they have cultivated a love of learning.

We have a dedicated Spanish instructor and rotate through other extracurriculars during the year. Field trips too!

Students meet with our Spanish instructor multiple times as week, and many will say that is their favorite subject. Because we want well-rounded students, we aim to have our students devote time to the arts as well as standard academics. Students have art projects in their classes and during Spanish, but we also bring in local practitioners to help the students develop their appreciation and familiarity with the arts.

Our students carry a very light homework load 

In the Lowers class, students should expect to have no required homework, though there can be long-term projects which would be appropriate for a student to work on at home.  Uppers are more likely to have semi-regular homework, not only because they tend to have more detailed projects and longer writing exercises but also for the reinforcement of certain skills by repeated practice. 

Our instructors maintain a low screen usage rate

American school age children under the age of 12 average around 4 hours of “screen time” per day; teenagers average closer to 8 hours per day.  Although we are aware of a number of great computer applications to enhance classroom learning, we are taking an intentionally “tech-lite” posture.  Our instructors will occasionally use screens to engage on certain topics, we do not intend to let computers become a standard means for content delivery. While it is true that the students’ future educational, job, and life experiences are likely to have computers and screens as a ubiquitous presence, we believe that it makes sense to hold the screens at bay in our program.


Edson Forest School will hold classes during the school year from 8:45 am until 3:00 pm. We prepare a calendar for the full 180 day school year before the start of the school year, generally following holidays and teacher workdays set by Rockingham County Public Schools to assist with those families who may have a sibling in another school in addition to ours.   

We are aware that a pick-up between 3:00 and 3:15pm may not work for every family, and we are contemplating adding an enrichment class after school until 5:00pm.

On beautiful days, we might have yoga outside.

Typical daily schedule

Drop off is between 8:25 and 8:45am, with child-led yoga starting at 8:45.  Morning is also a time for centering oneself and preparing for the day, and our morning meetings aim to help every child develop focus and a sense of belonging.

After morning meeting, the two classes will each go to their primary classroom and begin work which will focus on building and reinforcing academic skills. Math, language, and history are all primary topics of study, but the ability to communicate and write about these subjects also presents an opportunity for growth.

After the morning academics, the students will be released to recess, usually outdoors for a minimum of 45 minutes. Lunch is most usually indoors, but as long as weather permits, the class may opt for outdoor dining.

After lunch, the afternoon block of time is geared towards outdoors activities. On some days, a class might hike or learn primitive survival skills. On other days, the class may have an art focus or cook around the fire pit. As often as possible, the students should be collaborating on an active learning exercise, with the instructors providing ideas and guidance but largely allowing the students to take the lead role in developing their own knowledge base and designing their own experiments. Although this method of learning will require some adaptation and flexibility on the part of both students and adults, soon enough the children take a lead role in their own scientific explorations while following their own natural curiosity.

Parent pick-ups take place between 3:00 and 3:15pm.  As noted above, we are contemplating the idea of having paid after-school enrichment classes – this would require an additional fee per child if we do offer that option.