As you will have heard, the Village Forest School is moving to a new location in Montaldo, a building called Abete - coincidentally, like our classes, named after a kind of fir tree. Although this was not a part of our initial plans when we started the year, it has provided us with the opportunity to address a number of structural problems we faced in the current location, and we have embraced the transition and are working to ensure a timely opening of our doors for the upcoming academic year. With that in mind, we have developed this website as a hub to provide you with all the essential information regarding this important transition.
The site will be regularly updated, ensuring that families remain connected and informed about how things are going, and also, very important, how they will be asked to contribute their part to the development and preparation of our new learning space.
At Abete, we have been able to combine a spacious building, which offers a view down the length of the Montaldo Valley, with a large open space consisting of both meadow and forest – a blank canvas for us to shape to provide the nurturing environment that we want for the children of VFS, in which we can continue to foster a love of learning, nature and exploration.
Our new building comes with ample classrooms, a modern kitchen, an administrative office, a music room, a library and generous outdoor spaces for all sorts of school (and, potentially, after-hours, commercial activities). Abete will provide a supportive and inspiring environment for both our children and teachers, in alignment with core principles rooted in Waldorf and forest school pedagogies. While it will take us time to fully convert the space, we will have time over the summer to create the core learning spaces for our children, and over time, our intention is that every corner of our building will be imbued with purpose and character.
Our school began in yurts and it is our goal that it will continue with yurts. Although the timing is still not clear, once they have been moved to the land adjacent to Abete, they will serve as vibrant spaces for a variety of learning activities in the immediate term; and in the long term, they will return to their original function as core classroom spaces.
Our woodland provides an invaluable resource for integrating forest schooling into our daily rhythms. Nature walks, bird-watching, and various other forest-based activities will enable our students to deepen their connection with the natural world. By embracing the rich biodiversity of the land around the school, we inspire curiosity, environmental stewardship, and a profound appreciation for the wonders of nature.
Abete's land offers exciting prospects for the integration of a working garden, aligning with our commitment to sustainability and hands-on learning, and we intend to have this available when we open our doors in September. As we continue to evolve, we aspire to embrace farming using permaculture principles and practices, providing our students with a unique opportunity to understand the cycle of food production and foster a deep connection with the land. We have a vision of a future where a part of the meadow itself becomes a flourishing working farm, offering our children immersive, hands-on learning experiences.
Together, with the meadow, forest, building, and land, we aim to create a haven that embraces the wonders of nature, cultivates growth, and nurtures the holistic development of every child who walks through our doors. It will require a lot of work, and it won’t all be ready by September. So, as we embark on this next chapter, we invite the VFS community to actively participate in the transition and help shape our future.
It will take a village – every child and every parent of VFS is a part of that village – we hope to see you all take the opportunity to make your mark on the development of Abete, and we look forward enormously to celebrating together the opening of the next school year, and the next chapter in the development and growth of VFS.
While Abete is a hopeful and exciting opportunity for us to grow into, we are incurring costs that we did not anticipate so soon. So, we are asking for a helping hand to ensure that we deliver the same magic in our new location that our children have come to love. Your contribution will directly support the construction of classrooms, the development of our outdoor spaces including the forest, meadow, gardens and yurts. Please join us in making Abete a reality and consider making a donation today. Thank you for your support.