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EverWild Forest School: A Whole-Child Approach to Education in an Outdoor Classroom

Last updated June 30, 2021 by Totally Boise

Opening in 2020, EverWild Forest School has quickly become the most extensive forest school in the U.S. The nonprofit school balances inquiry-based learning with a place-bonded curriculum customized to each child's learning needs for ages 18 months-14 years old in a 100% outdoor classroom.

Founder and Director Erica Hermsen has always been a dedicated outdoor enthusiast and activist for the outdoors. Still, it wasn't until a life-changing car accident in 2017 that made the pursuit of her dream of opening a nature-based school her number one priority. With over 140 students in four Treasure Valley locations, Erica is eager for new programs and opportunities for students.

About Non-Profit EverWild Forest School

EverWild Forest School offers three types of outdoor education opportunities for the Treasure Valley community: drop-off forest school, “caregiver-and-me” toddler programs, and summer camps. The September through May drop-off forest school program offers three-hour schooling, up to four days a week, for kids ages 4-14 years. In addition, the organization is launching the state’s first full-day lower elementary forest school program for 1st and 2nd graders for the 2021-2022 School Year! Dubbed EverWild Academy, the one-of-a-kind program will welcome kids ages 6-8 years of age, Monday-Thursday 9 am-3:30 pm, with the option to add Fridays (when field trips and visits from expert educators in the community will happen). EverWild Forest School also runs a year-round toddler program (ages 18mo-3yrs) and drop-off summer day camps (ages 4-14yrs).

Erica explains that EverWild Forest School’s half-day drop-off programs are aligned with the needs of many homeschooling families by offering a flexible schedule and a personalized educational approach. The new full-day lower elementary program is geared to meet the needs of working families and/or those interested in an alternative to conventional learning. "Our approach prioritizes experiential learning alongside engaged peers and attuned educators; we believe, it's the most developmentally appropriate way for our students to learn," said Erica.

EverWild Forest School's 100% outdoor educational programs harmonize child-led and place-based learning that stimulates social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

EverWild Forest School | Totally Boise 2021 Summer Mag

Photo Credit: Taylor Wold of Taylor Wold Photography

EverWild Forest School | Totally Boise 2021 Summer Mag

Photo Credit: Taylor Wold of Taylor Wold Photography

EverWild Forest School Curriculum: A Unique Learning Opportunity For Young Children

Erica and her team use a three-part daily curriculum schedule that optimizes each student’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

Unstructured free-play: Exploring the outdoors allows children to discover their own conclusions—Erica relates this teaching method to scientists developing theories.

Placed-based education: Learning based on experience helps us as adults, so why wouldn't this help young students too? This part of the program teaches students by allowing them to learn through experience through developmentally appropriate educational challenges that are themed to the season and cover the subjects of math, science, history, literacy, and the arts

Mindfulness moment: Together, the students boil water for herbal tea, take a moment to wind down and take in their surroundings, and have a bite to eat while listening to an engaging story.

EverWild Forest School Additions And Plans For The Future

Scholarship Program: Erica is making EverWild Forest School as inclusive and welcoming as possible. The nonprofit school will be rolling out a scholarship program, allowing more opportunities for students who cannot currently attend due to financial hardship.

Gear Library: What fits a kid one season may not fit the next —the gear library allows students to rent necessary outdoor gear without the financial strain of purchasing new equipment every year.

As a non-profit, EverWild Forest School humbly accepts help from the community. The community can assist in monetary ways, but also in volunteering, and gear donations. If you have gear that your kids have outgrown or don't use that are in good condition, consider donating them to another child who can benefit from learning outdoors.

EverWild Forest School | Totally Boise 2021 Summer Mag

Photo Credit: Taylor Wold of Taylor Wold Photography

EverWild Forest School | Totally Boise 2021 Summer Mag

Photo Credit: Taylor Wold of Taylor Wold Photography

Idaho Community Programs & Gatherings:

While EverWild Forest School education programs are dedicated towards youth, they love being a part of the Treasure Valley community. They are constantly hosting community programs and gatherings for families and friends of all ages. EverWild Forest School offers after school Specialty Classes and community engagement events (e.g. Family Nature Classes, Winter Solstice Celebrations, and more!) for those who'd aren’t enrolled in the usual school programs but would like to get involved with their amazing educational offerings! The additional programming expands on EverWild’s custom curriculum, giving kids and adults alike more opportunities for explorative, nature-based learning.

Other EverWild Events for Adults and Families:

  • Yoga in the Forest
  • Goddess Circles
  • Family Nature Classes
  • Monthly Celebrations
  • Wilderness Survival, STEM in the Outdoors, Orienteering, and other Speciality Classes
  • “History in the Wild” hikes in partnership with Idahistory Tours

EverWild Forest School Habitat Locations

  • Southeast Boise
  • Eagle
  • Kuna
  • Garden City

EverWild Forest School is a chance for your child to connect and learn about Idaho's beautiful outdoors. Rain or shine, school is always in session. EverWild Forest School allows students to completely immerse themselves in nature, learning more than a traditional classroom can provide.

View EverWild Forest School's programs here:

EverWild Programs

Donate to Everwild Nonprofit Forest School here:

Donate Now




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