Inquiry Grove

Inquiry Grove is a small-group, play-based science learning experience in nature. Designed for ages 4-7, this mixed-age class uses the natural environment to encourage children to explore a chosen STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) theme each week.

Click here to REGISTER.

Guided exploratory learning in nature
Each class focuses on a science/STEM theme and provides opportunities for experiments and exploration. At the start of the class, Rae will establish safety and boundaries for the exploration and introduce the topic and materials for exploration. The majority of the time will be used for exploration and experimentation. Students will be able to play and explore, individually or in groups, using the natural world and the materials provided. While they are free to explore as they choose (within the safety and boundary guidelines), the setting, materials, and introduction will encourage students to delve into a chosen STEM topic. As students play-learn, Rae will ask questions that will help them understand what they’re seeing, extend their explorations, make connections, work together, and develop new questions to explore.

Each class will focus on a STEM topic. The topic for each week will be chosen on weather, wildlife, plant/mushroom seasons, trail conditions, or other factors. Possible topics for upcoming classes include:

  • Balance
  • Nature-based painting, using natural materials as paints
  • Building with mud
  • Water flow
  • Nature sounds and instruments
  • Taste of nature (cooking and tasting)
  • Plant shapes (identifying and drawing different plant shapes, beginning on the skill of identifying and classifying plants)
  • Pendulums and swing
  • Species diversity (through counting games, eye-spy games, etc.)
  • Bugs
  • Wind
  • Seasons
  • Signs of life
  • Animal homes
  • Snail painting

Click here to REGISTER.

Ages and supervision
The class is designed for children ages 4-7. If your child is outside of these age ranges, they may register and attend so long as an adult stays with them throughout the class. Children age 0-1 don’t need to register but do need an adult present. (Contact me with any questions on this.)


All classes meet at Joaquin Miller Park. The exact location within the park will be announced in advance of each class.


Woods Week! 

Before you head back to school, come explore and enjoy the woods! August 6-10 is Inquiry Grove’s summer Woods Week, a chance for kids get immersed in nature play and learning. Each class session is 3 hours, to allow for more in-depth adventuring. Your child can attend for 1-5 days – pick the schedule that works for you. Each day will feature a different science theme, and attending for multiple days will help kids develop a more complex, multifaceted understanding of their environment.

August 6-10, 12:30-3:30pm each day. $45/ day. (10%’Sibling discount).

Woods Wednesdays

Inquiry Grove is offering a series of Woods Wednesdays, beginning in August. Inquiry Grove will meet most Wednesdays throughout the school year, and your child can attend sporadically or regularly. (Registration priority will be given to regular/ongoing enrollments.)

Woods Wednesdays can be a perfect complement to OUSD Wednesday minimum day schedules, adding a mid-week change of routine and a chance to learn through exploration and movement. Or, it can be a part of a homeschool routine. It could also pair well with a morning preschool, giving your child a little downtime for lunch and a rest before they burn off some afternoon energy in the woods.

August dates will be on Wednesdays August 15 and 29, 2-4pm each day. Fall dates will be added soon!

Click here to REGISTER.

CLICK HERE to sign up for email updates about future classes. 

Class Fees
Participants may sign up for one or more classes.

$32 per 2-hour class
$45 per 3-hour class

Sibling Discount – If you are registering siblings for the same class, there is a 10% discount on the second (and third, fourth, etc) sibling registering.


Click here to REGISTER.

You will need to complete an enrollment form and then follow the link to finish and pay.


My four year old loves Inquiry Grove. He leaves the class saying how he’ll miss everyone and filled with new information about nature, bursting to share it with us.
–Beth, Oakland

Financial Assistance – Homeschool Charters, Work-Trade, and Scholarships

Homeschool Charter Funds – Scandent Learning is an approved vendor with a number of local charter schools, and you can use your charter funds for this and other Scandent Programs. Click here for a current list of charter schools that Scandent is a vendor with. 

Work-Trade – for each class, there can be one adult assistant. If you are the adult assistant for a class, your child will get to attend that class for free.

As an adult assistant, your duties will include

  • Complete a 30-minute phone call with Rae, at least 1 week before the class, to learn about the class methodology and instructional approach. (This only needs to be completed once per adult.)
  • Arrive 30 minutes before the class time to help with setup and to learn about the topic and plan for that class.
  • Assist all children throughout the class. Duties may include keeping track of children (especially watching boundaries, counting kids), taking smaller groups of kids for water/bathroom breaks, administering basic first aid (bandaids, etc.),

So that you are available to help the whole group, your child must be age 4-7 and able to participate independently (or you must have contacted me ahead of time and made arrangements for accommodations that don’t rely on you assisting your child.)

Adult assistants must be at least 18 years old and must have a child attending the class they are assisting with.

If you are interested in this work-trade opportunity, please contact me.

Scholarships – Need-based scholarships are available. If you are interested in a scholarship, please contact me.