Wildflower School is accepting applications for the 2024/25 school year. Visit our Enrollment page to learn more.
Since 2016, Wildflower School has created community with families throughout Orange, Durham and Chatham counties. Our school is inspired by the forest school and Reggio Emilia approach to education. However, these philosophies do not inform the essence of Wildflower.
The soul of Wildflower is found in its commitment to teaching children relational skills (how to be in relationships with others), and emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills. Research shows that without the ability to collaborate, cooperate, calm down an angry whoosh or sit with uncomfortable feelings/insistent urges, individuals likely will not reach their full potential. There are a plethora of articles, blogs and scientific research papers illuminating the connection between academic performance and emotion regulation.
In short, because Wildflower is committed to helping children develop their social and emotional skills, we chose a forest school, Reggio Emilia-inspired approach. We believe these two educational philosophies best support children as they navigate the early years. Research is solid that time spent in nature supports mental health and well-being. Similarly, the Reggio Emilia approach values the importance of relationships and fosters relationships early to provide a foundation for children to create a joyful life. The combination of the forest and Reggio approaches is ideal for creating an environment where children thrive both intellectually as well as emotionally. This combination is absolutely essential for human development.
Knowing the alphabet is great, but if a child can't develop authentic friendships, practice empathy for self and others, practice learning from peers and using her imagination to resolve challenges creatively, knowing the alphabet really won't matter very much. Early knowledge of the alphabet certainly does not increase a child's sense of well-being.
Wildflower deeply values children's competence and ability to learn. We recognize that children's play is their serious work. We do not subscribe the belief that earlier is inherently better but believe that supporting children's natural interest in traditional learning inquiries (reading, math, etc) is the most effective means of inspiring intellectual curiosity. We follow the research every step along our learning journey with children.
Wildflower stands apart from other forest schools because of our authentic commitment to helping children learn the social and emotional skills they need to love themselves and others fully and joyfully. Children do not spontaneously develop tools for living - these tools are thoughtfully taught. When these skill-building experiences are not intentionally offered to them, children are unable to effectively navigate relationships, conflict, and strong emotions. Wildflower prioritizes emotional intelligence and intellectual curiosity above academics. We believe that academic learning is best built on a foundation of self-awareness, self-regulation, a sense of safety and trust in the world, empathy and relational skills.
Give your child the head start that really matters. Give them a Wildflower education.
Quick facts about Wildflower
Our school week is Monday-Friday.
Our morning preschool hours are 8:30am-12:30pm.
We accept students ages 2-4.5 in our morning preschool, students ages 4.5-6 in our TK/kindergarten. Five day attendance in kindergarten is mandatory.
We do not require toilet training in our morning preschool program. Preschool classes are mixed-age.
Our kindergarten teacher comes to us with 10 years experience in the 1st grade classroom. She is board certified, knowledgeable about what children need to be successful entering grade school and passionate about play-based learning in a natural environment. The class ratio is 6:1 and is designed for children 4 1/2 - 6 years old.
"The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults."
How can we know our faces unless we study them? How can we understand our movements fully unless we can watch them happen? Mirrors allow children to get a perspective on themselves that they otherwise would not see.
When a stick is not a stick, but a train, alligator, space rocket and more...all in one day! Children greet this world with their own ideas and theories about how things work and why they exist. Allow them to express their rich ideas and they will grow into precisely who they are.
Caring for animals is just one of the many ways children express their understanding of the world.
Every month, we host Parent Collaboration Night. This is a gathering for parents and teachers to reflect on and discuss the children's explorations. Dinner, wine and slide show documentation help make this a community-building event!
Light, literacy and magnifying glasses! What more could anyone want to explore a small dot of the universe, especially with a friend alongside to share discoveries?
Engineering, construction and a little transparency go a long way toward helping children understand how we adults have built our towns and cities, houses and schools.
Children's dialogues with light and shadow are one of the most satisfying to observe. They rightly perceive the magic of light's effect on ordinary objects and revel in that beauty.
October brings our Potluck Beewax Candle Dipping Gathering. Families gather together to share food and dip beeswax candles with their children.
Every other week, families gather before the school day begins to enjoy breakfast provided by the preschool. Oatmeal, egg muffins, cheese grits and bagels are some of our morning delights!
Experiencing life in community is essential for human development. We encourage children to be ladies and gentlemen at our gatherings and then allow their conversation, story and joke telling and bonding. This is a space in which adult interaction fades into the background.
Working in the garden is a powerful creative experience for the children. From seed to tomato, the children experience their own capacity for creating as well as the responsibility of caring for something.
Many people think that Reggio Emilia schools are art schools. RE schools are expression schools and support children in expressing their passion for the world in the child's own languages...the one hundred languages of children.
Literacy is a lifelong endeavor and is no longer "gifted" to children by their teachers. Literacy is, in part, a self-directed interaction with the world that results in a deeper, richer understanding of life.
Wildflower Learning Community invites children throughout the day to gather, sing, story tell and talk. These are spontaneous gatherings and are never forced "circle times". Children never need to be forced to gather together in joy!
The physics of balance and stability, inclines and speed are investigations children relish. No need to force science: the desire to explore the world is inherent in every child.
Rhythm play and music making outdoors allows children to march to their own drumbeat as loudly as they desire! What better way to speak than the language of song?
The best way to know nature is to dig right in! Children who interact with their world develop a relationship with the environment which is rich and meaningful.
Constructing with various materials and loose parts allows children to express their ideas about engineering and design.
Baking together is a creative endeavor and also a great way to practice cooperation.