Littlest Learners is a farm-and-forest-based early-childhood program that focuses on foundational academic skills, social-emotional skills, and whole-child development. Through outdoor, hands-on lessons, community time, garden work, animal care, singing, creating, playing, storytelling, mindfulness practice, and free play, students learn to love and be connected with Earth and all of her inhabitants while receiving a balanced education.
8:30-9:00 Welcome to Sprouts
Sign-in, greet friends, free-play
Theme of the week, weather, calendar, song, story
9:30-10:10 Garden Exploration/Field Time
Watering, Planting, Tasting, Caring for the plants and animals
10:10-10:30 Bathroom, Hand Wash, Snack
Garden-based snacks are made by the children every day
10:30-11:15 Forest Fun and Science
Games, hiking, listening to birds, nature art, experiments
11:15-11:45 Art Projects, Dance, Drama
A time inside or outside to explore the theme of the week in a creative way
12:20-12:30 See you later
Free play, sign out, saying good bye till next time to friends
Days & Hour: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
1/2 day runs from 12:30 am -4:30 pm
Full day run from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
1/2 day = $4,320.00 a year or $480.00 a month.
Full day = $7,560.00 a year or $840.00 a month.
Ages: 5 - 8 years old
Snack (both): Families pack a snack for Littlest Learners.
Lunch (full day): Families pack and send Littlest Learners with a lunch from home.
THE DAILY CYCLE
THE DAILY CYCLE
Full Day AM
Full Day AM
1/2 Day - Full Day PM
HOW Littlest Learner's GROW
At the Asheville Farmstead School, we are pioneering a brand new type of education that is inspired by many well-known and successful educational models, including Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and the Cedarsong Way. We ground learning in real-world challenges and ideas by using place based education (PBE) to assure that all lessons are hands-on, engaging, and relevant. Our 25 acre forest and organic farm make fantastic classrooms for our students to observe, experience, question, and learn about the world around them.
We believe that each student is a remarkable and unique being, and honor that with a low (6:1) student-teacher ratio so that each child gets plenty of one-on-one instruction and builds trusting relationships with our teachers. Our multi-age classroom model fosters connection and increases learning through peer-teaching, and highly scaffolded lessons ensure that each student is able to engage with material at their own level.
The Littlest Learners “home-base” is our beautiful Forest Classroom, a covered platform nestled into our 25-acre forest on our main trail system. We also spend time exploring the forest, hiking the trails, working in the garden, and taking care of the animals around the farm. We place a high value on physical movement and kinetic learning, and we cherish our opportunity to connect our students with nature through direct experience.
“Place-based education (PBE) immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. PBE emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.” - Center for Place-Based Learning and Community
The Littlest Learners participate in five thematic units throughout the school year. The units follow the seasonal flow of focus and energy throughout a year at the Farmstead. Students learn about what is happening around them in nature in real-time, keeping learning hands-on, personally relevant, and exciting!
5 Thematic Units
Students will understand that humans are connected to all other living things through shared resources. As summer draws to an end and crops become mature, we learn about the parts of a plant, food chains, and harvesting and storing food and other agricultural products. Students participate in tasks such as harvesting and preparing food from the garden, using native nuts to make natural fabric dye, dissecting plants, and saving seeds.
Students will explore the characteristics and adaptations of local animals and their effects on our ecosystem. Autumn is a very busy time for local wildlife. Lessons focus on identifying animals based on characteristics, animal adaptations, and identifying signs of animals in the forest. Students cast animal tracks, investigate skeletons, and transform into animals through the power of imagination!
Space and Earth
Students will observe, describe, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the sky, and develop understanding of patterns and variations in local weather. Winter brings all types of weather to the mountains on Western North Carolina. The Littlest Learners learn how to observe and describe weather patterns, predict the effects of certain types of weather on humans and ecosystems, and name all of the planets in our solar system. We build a weather station and learn to use tools to help us record weather data, create a sundial to track the movement of earth, and create models to explore how weather affects the earth around us.
Students will understand how to use simple machines to complete a task. It takes a lot of work to get the Farmstead up and running again after a long winter! Students learn how to utilize simple machines to help move, lift, and build. We help turn the garden beds, make improvements to our systems, build a Rube Goldberg machine, and design and build our own race cars for the Farmstead Derby!
Students will explore the concepts of life cycles and genetic inheritance. From seed to plant and egg to animal, we observe first hand as plants and animals begin their life cycles after winter’s long rest. Students plant, care for, and collect data on their own plants, search for eggs in streams and trees, learn to hand-pollinate, and discover how genetic characteristics are passed from parent to offspring.