Nestled at the back of a quiet cove just 20 minutes from downtown is Asheville Farmstead School, a play-based, farm and forest outdoor school in Candler.
The school serves preschool children, summer camps, school groups, other large groups, and nature-loving families in a variety of programs in which students are encouraged to use their imaginations, bodies, and curiosity to interact with the Earth.
The school itself sits on 25 lush acres and days at the farmstead are spent both in a field setting, on three acres offering room for gardening, running games, and more; and in a forest setting, with a mixed hardwood cove forest offering a logging road, trails, and a ridgeline.
Some other unique features of the property include a stone-built schoolhouse, forts, a creek, and spring, and a schoolyard always filled with rotating loose parts, natural items, and objects for exploration. This setting as a whole lends itself to teachable moments, discovery, and kinesthetic learning.
Director of Asheville Farmstead School and educator Lauren Brown says that her school “offers the chance for the next generation to make connections to their food, each other, and the Earth in ways that were part of our ancestors’ daily routines.”
She and the school embrace the values of our collective conscious and history by leading children on an exploration for timeless knowledge and not-quite-lost skills. These skills taught at the farmstead include permaculture, homesteading and camping, and plant and animal identification and care. Through the school’s programs, students will sprout into confident and capable producers and consumers in the food chain by unearthing the connections between people, food, and nature.
Richard Louv, American author and journalist who is perhaps best known for his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder,” says too many of our youth suffer from nature-deficit disorder as they are glued to their screens and immersed in organized competitive activities.
Outdoor schools like Asheville Farmstead School allow for a reconnection to nature that so many families, particularly in the Asheville area, are once again beginning to crave in today’s modern climate.
One Asheville Farmstead School parent shares insight on her children’s experience at the farmstead: “I can see how much their minds and bodies have grown as they have been encouraged to explore, create, and problem-solve in natural habitats.”
If the farm and forest are calling to you, you can join Asheville Farmstead School on April 29 from 10 a.m. to noon for the school’s monthly free family discovery day event.
A free week of summer camp at Camp Farmstead will be raffled off to one attending family. For more information about this event, or to learn about any of the programs at Asheville Farmstead School, visit www.ashevillefarmstead.org.