School FAQs

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions About TimberNook Certified Schools

We receive many questions about TimberNook programming and becoming a certified school. If you do not see your question answered below, or you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.
What are TimberNook Certified Schools?
TimberNook certified schools have the license to run TimberNook outdoor programming during school hours throughout the year. Outdoor landscapes may vary but the essential elements of the TimberNook experience are the same everywhere. TimberNook inspires students to use their imaginations and creativity all while developing cognitive, motor, sensory, and social skills. Using loose parts such as wood cookies, sticks, planks, mud, and straw — our play experiences give children plenty of time to create, plan, collaborate with peers, and problem solve.
What is the Flow of a Program?
TimberNook can be organized on a dedicated day each week for the children, such as “TimberNook Tuesdays,” or TimberNook time can be set aside each day. Each school decides how often to offer TimberNook. We suggest at least two uninterrupted hours to give children plenty of time to engage and participate fully. TimberNook time usually begins with a welcome and the introduction of a story for younger participants or an icebreaker for older children. Next comes the TimberNook experience, when students explore their environment and engage in whole-body play that inspires and challenges learning and development skills.
Does TimberNook offer curriculum?
Every year TimberNook provides certified schools with new curricula that are suitable for every season and all types of weather. An example experience for young children is listening to the story, The Three Little Pigs and then reenacting the tale by building life-sized houses of hay, bricks, and sticks outside. Older children may create a giant marble run throughout the woods or create mazes for colored ice to go through in colder weather. All experiences are chosen based for their role in enhancing development, while inspiring higher levels of play.
Does your curriculum support and align with US educational standards?
Yes. Our curriculum is linked to the American standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as well as the Common Core. We can work with schools outside of the United States to help align our curriculum with your regional standards. We also provide an assessment tool that will assist teachers in measuring developmental progress throughout the school year.
Does our school need outdoor space to run TimberNook?
The biggest benefits to children come when playing outside. Children need plenty of space to move, explore, and interact and TimberNook is designed with the outdoor environment in mind. We have found that an outdoor space equivalent in size to at least three large classrooms can work for group sizes of 20-25 children.
We have an un-used outdoor play area at our school, what steps can we take to improve it?
We understand this process takes time. TimberNook is happy to help transform your outdoor area whether it is an open field, forested land, or blacktop. We make recommendations for useable and suitable safe spaces for playing the TimberNook way. In addition, our partner, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, can customize a natural play space for you that is TimberNook approved. These designs are truly transformative.
What schools are eligible to become TimberNook Certified?
Any school can train to become a TimberNook school. If you are large or small, public or private, religious or secular, or an early years center, you qualify. If you have interested teachers and a supportive community, we encourage you to apply. Our programs are designed for children ages 18 months-14 years.
Are we ready?

Some things to consider before jumping in are:

  • Do you have an outdoor space?
  • Do you have teachers who are ready to train and lead this program?
  • Do you have funding for initial training and ongoing program costs?
How do we get started?

You can fill out the application here. There is no fee to apply. Once your application is reviewed, our team will contact you to schedule an interview.

What does the TimberNook Certified Schools program provide to its partners?
As a first step, we offer comprehensive online training. These self-paced learning modules will help your teachers to learn the foundations of the TimberNook philosophy. The online lessons, coupled with observations of a nearby TimberNook program site, will demonstrate how to set up and introduce play experiences, step back, observe, and then assess the gains of their students over time. During the final steps of training, we come to your school for a two-day intensive session to ensure strong carryover of the TimberNook philosophy. You’ll have a member of TimberNook’s core team available to provide on-site assistance for a successful launch of TimberNook in your school community.
What else does TimberNook in Schools offer?
Our experienced team of early and middle school educators, outdoor specialists, and occupational therapists create new and innovative programming every year for our partner schools. TimberNook experiences meet a range of developmental needs that are not typically part of a content-based curriculum. You will receive 40 days of programming per age range annually.
How do we bring TN in Schools to our location?
Once your teachers have completed training, your school will receive a license agreement to run TimberNook programs. When you are ready to launch, one of our trainers will come to your location for two days of additional training and support. We can also be very flexible in the training model and will create a custom training opportunity that fits the needs of your school’s schedule.
What does it cost to become a TimberNook Certified school?

The initial investment is $10,000. This includes comprehensive online pre-training and in-person training at your location by a member of our core team for five full days. Training for up to four certified teacher is included in this iniital investment.  Additional teachers can be trained for an additional cost of $500 each. The initial investment also includes unlimited usage of the TimberNook curriculum during your first year of certification.

What happens if one of our teachers takes a new job or leaves our school?

Once you have a new teacher in place, they may join our online classroom, observe local programming, and launch TimberNook curriculum under the supervision of your current TimberNook Certified Teachers. Teachers are required to be TimberNook trained in order to maintain program know-how, consistency, and safety. The fee is $500 for each additional teacher.

What are the ongoing costs to run the program?
Starting in year two of your certification, the annual fee is based on the number of children in your school. The cost is $100/students who participates in TimberNook programs, capped at a maximum of $10,000 per year. We provide all new curriculum, professional development, and connection opportunities every year to further strengthen the skills of our TimberNook Teachers and Schools.

Become a TimberNook-Certified School