What sets us apart
We believe, and research supports, that children of all ages learn best when they are engaged, physically active and in a natural environment. To address this some schools include a few days of Outdoor School annually and believe this is enough. Others focus almost exclusively on being outdoors with very little time in teacher-directed, standards-grounded learning. We believe the most effective approach blends experiential, outdoor, standards-grounded learning with indoor instruction, projects and technology-based study.
Redwood Adventist Academy is blessed to sit on 22 acres, bordered by Mark West Creek. This location is not only beautiful but functional, allowing us to offer our students the advantages of merged indoor and outdoor learning. To see how this benefits our students, call 707-545-1697 to schedule a free consult with our principal.
Our kindergarten students benefit from both time spent in the classroom and time spent in nature. Classroom time includes traditional learning approaches and curricula. But every day also includes time in outdoor learning.
Forest kindergartens, which have existed in Scandinavian countries for 30 years, have well-documented benefits for students. Forest kindergarteners:
- Are less likely to experience ADHD symptoms (Isted, 2013)
- Become more resilient (Blackwell, 2015)
- See improvements in confidence, social skills, language and communication, motivation and concentration (O'Brien, 2007)
- Are less likely to be overweight or obese (Boldemann et al, 2005)
- Engage in more imaginative and dynamic forms of play (Martensson, 2004)
Teachers in Forest Kindergartens also notice their students develop better problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which help their progress with traditional academic subjects.
At Redwood, learning outdoors does not end after kindergarten. Our elementary students also spend time each week in a variety of outdoor contexts, including the natural areas along the creek, at What's Up Farm right here on our campus, and in outdoor classroom areas. Research has also documented the benefits of learning outdoors for students beyond kindergarten:
- Nature-study aligns with current brain-based research on how students best learn science (National Research Council, 2000)
- Outdoor learning improves students’ intrinsic motivation and competence (Dettweiler, 2017)
- Students who experience outdoor learning have healthier patterns in the stress hormone cortisol (Dettweiler, 2017)
- Outdoor classrooms can be used to teach both science and literacy (Eick, 2012)
Our students in grades 1-8 get to learn not only in the classroom but also through tangible, standards-based lesson plans which are taught in our outdoor spaces and at What's Up Farm. They spend at least 45 minutes each week in these unique learning environments.
What does outdoor learning look like?
What's Up Farm
What's Up Farm is an eight acre, fully functioning, organic farm and garden, integrated on the Redwood campus. The program is committed to growing quality produce and to educating students. Our students develop the following skills in their time learning on our farm:
- Business skills as they help operate our farm stand
- Patience, reliability and work ethic while growing and harvesting seasonal crops
- Practical gardening know-how through working with Farmer Joby
- Communication with peers and adults when staffing our farm stand
What's Up Farm is an integral part of our mission to prepare our students for life through nature-centered learning. To learn more about the farm and how you can support it, click here.