Our Philosophy


At Thimble Forest School we collaborate, support and build a wider community of connected and intentional people all with the goals of caring for the earth and caring for people.

Thimble Forest School does not follow one particular educational theory. Some theory concepts we appreciate and integrate are Waldorf education with the emphasis on children being outside often and for extended periods as well as using nature as toys and the concept that young children cannot comprehend many adult concepts as they are still in somewhat of a dream like state.

“Receive the child in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.”  –Rudolph Steiner

Friedrich Frobel was the German inventor of Kindergarten. He said “The purpose of education is to encourage and guide man as a conscious, thinking and perceiving being in such a way that he becomes a pure and perfect representation of that divine inner law though his own personal choice; education must show him the ways and meanings of attaining that goal.” Thimble Forest School wants to guide your child to discover and realize their best self. We do this by using the forest as our teacher as we integrate ourselves into the natural life cycle. Because the children are in the same forest regularly they will begin to observe changes and their sense of wonder will be stimulated. They will slowly realize the impact they personally have on the land both positive and negative. For example, as a group of six four year olds we stumbled upon a dead hawk carcass on our daily path. The facilitator asked questions like, how long ago did this bird die? How do you think it died? Who will be a part of the decomposition process of this animal? Etc. We ask a lot of questions at Thimble Forest School, we want to encourage children to think for themselves and come up with conclusions that best meet their understanding of the world.

“The name Kindergarten signifies both a garden for children, a location where they can observe and interact with nature, and also a garden of children, where they themselves can grow and develop in freedom from arbitrary imperatives.”

We pull our ethics from the Permaculture principles which emphasize caring for the earth and caring for people first. Permaculture in the realm of education functions as a set of tools that can guide the children and facilitators to best practices when connecting and interacting in the forest. When challenges arise we can use the permaculture principles to guide or process. For example, if the pond water is flooding an area of the forest we use as one of our classrooms we can view this as a disappointment or respond to change creatively using the permaculture principles of design. Can we use this space now? If so, how can we use this space differently? What is happening to this space now and how does it affect other parts of the forest?

“Permaculture gives us a tool kit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance.” –Toby Hemmingway

 As Thimble Forest School grows and evolves we may alter our program as new information comes to light and it will make our program even more rich and full.  All Thimble Forest School community members are aware that growth and change are welcomed. From year to year things in our program may change, just as each person and family change, we will embrace one another.

Change is not pleasant, but change is constant. Only when we change and grow, we’ll see the world we never know. –Wisdom of The Orange Woodpecker

Practically, we use the Positive Parenting philosophy. We never want to attack your child’s ego and always seek to understand the root of the behavior.  Parents are our biggest educator about their child, journals between the parent child and the facilitator circulate often to cultivate the healthiest growth from the child.

Thimble Forest School was founded out of pure joy. Founder Heidi McKay seeks to share her joy for nature, children and connected communities with each one of you. As the forest and the program change you, we encourage our members to cast their net to their own wider community and share your joys.

"When you follow your own nature, you automatically and naturally feel for the needs of others.  When you are joyful and free, and when you are having fun, you automatically feel your oneness with all other creatures of the universe and you know your place in All-That-Is.  And when you are yourself, others look upon you with awe and joy and understanding, and you look the same upon them.  And you help every other creature that shares with you the framework of this earth." –Anonymous