Sunbeam is a working farm that is designed for outdoor learning and play.
We are located on a 2-acre agricultural space on Bodega Ave, just a few minutes west of downtown Petaluma. The days are gently structured by natural rhythms and the tasks of the land, such as foraging for wild greens, tending our vegetable garden, raking, digging, caring for the sheep, guinea pigs, and composting worms, or creating custom play spaces with straw bales.
We prioritize social connections, physical and emotional safety, self care and body awareness, and children's self-directed play and discoveries.
Guided in collaboration with the directors and teaching parents, the children happily investigate, move their bodies, create, tell stories, eat, and rest, all while experiencing wonder and developing deep relationships with the outdoor world, each other, and themselves.
Sunbeam Nature School hosts a year-round Co-op for 2-6-year-olds and after school classes and camps for school-age children.
How we Learn
The pedagogy at Sunbeam is an integration of best practices from the leading child-centered philosophies (Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Forest Schools). We are most inspired and influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach.
Shawna (the director) has had specific training in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and has years of experience building social constructivist, project-based learning communities, with a focus on children's co-created inquiries and solving real-life problems with real tools.
We start with the powerful foundation of play and connectedness and then build in the cycle of inquiry, storytelling, visual representation, and documentation, to guide a co-created learning process WITH (not for) children.