Forest Gnomes

Forest Gnomes

Program Overview

With over 10 years of experience, the Forest Gnomes is the only authentic Waldkindergarten in Massachusetts. In honoring the European Forest Preschool model, our program for preschool-aged  children takes place in the forest– a classroom without walls, changing with the seasons.
Forest Gnomes run from September-June, and the Gnomes are outside 95% of their day, in ALL weather!  Nature is our best teacher, and teachers promote unstructured free-play, imagination and exploration, far from the distractions of screens and technology. With an emphasis on seasonal rhythms, physical and social development and personal growth, the Forest Gnomes will help little ones to be more in sync with themselves, their peers, and the natural world.

Program Highlights

– Internationally recognized Waldkindergarten
– Well-established program founded over 10 years ago
– 6:1 student to teacher ratio
– Child-led and play-based philosophy guides our day
– Our emergent curriculum is shaped by natural curiosity
– Mixed age groups that respect developmental differences
– Extensive lending closet for borrowing gear
– Fostering a connection with the natural world
– Enrollment fees cover membership to NCOF
– Opportunities for risky play
         » Climbing trees, using tools, rough-and-tumble
– Community events to engage the whole family
         » Festivals, Potlucks, and Campfires!

What Gnomes Families Are Saying

“The canopy of trees above, the pine needles beneath their feet, smoke from the fire scenting the air, and the children right at home with the simplest things – pine cones, sticks, stones, sand, shovels etc., these are their rudimentary toys. And they are having a blast! Unplugged time with the sensory experience of the forest and the secure comfort offered by her teachers. —AD. Forest Gnome Parent

“I love the nurturing attitude that exists in respect to the children. The teachers are amazing! I love how they do more by doing sometimes less. They are thoughtful and move at a wonderful pace.”—Forest Gnome Parent

“I think it is a great experience for our kids to have had. In a world so caught up in technology, this school brings us back to experiencing connections to nature and has sparked my son’s imagination, helped him to learn cooperation, and strengthen his resolve and his physical strength.”—CR, Forest Gnome Parent

Tour the Woods

Hike out into the Gnomes woods and take a sneak peak into our outdoor playscape 

How to Apply

Learn more about our application process, costs, and open program days


Learn about the benefits of outdoor play and see where the Forest Gnomes has been featured


Check out our FAQ section here

or email us at [email protected]