Outdoor Explorers | Libertyville Area Moms

Outdoor Explorers

at West Middlefork Nature Camp

presented by Montessori School of Lake Forest

 “Come explore with us!”


 “In the age of virtual experience, camps can do even more to emphasize the health and cognitive benefits of the reality-based nature connection. I continue to argue that the most important educational gift we can give children and young people is not more information, though information is important, but more experience, especially nature experience.” – Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder)


Summer at The Montessori School of Lake Forest will offer a fresh spin for the elementary age child. Outdoor Explorers will welcome students currently enrolled in our school year program as well as those who are not. Children entering 1st-6th grade are encouraged to apply for four 2-week sessions or pick sessions that work with your family’s summer plans.



“Our campus in Lake Forest has such a rich diversity of learning and natural play areas. One moment we can be studying the life cycle of a monarch butterfly amongst milkweed plants and the very next we’re sprinting through our prairie to the story ring for a fire and s’mores.” -Brandon Chartier, Outdoor Classroom Director at MSLF



The natural world guides us each day as we start in the organic garden to see what needs our attention. While harvesting kale to eat for lunch or sell at our weekly market, we may see that some leaves have been munched by pests overnight. We’ll mix up a batch of homemade caterpillar repellant and spray our plants.




Another day we’ll hike down the river that runs the border of our property with LCFPD. Maybe we’ll improvise fishing poles to see what we can catch. Years of experience and intimate knowledge of our land allows Camp Directors the flexibility to follow the camper’s stream of inspiration. Curiosity and discovery allow the camper to make the land their own, to have an individual interaction with it. It’s this relationship to our natural surroundings that our camp encourages.






Skills:Our camp is skills focused. If we’re building birdhouses, then campers will learn how to properly use the necessary tools. Other skills that will be practiced and mastered are fire building, tool safety, nature journaling, tree climbing, seed planting, cooking and mindfulness.


We will practice mindfulness daily. Mindfulness is a reflective period in the middle of our day. One day it may be yoga on the prairie, another watching dragonflies from our wetland observation deck. Regardless of what it looks like on any given day, its outcome will be centering and recharging.

Trips: Field trips are planned to a variety of destinations off campus. We’ll explore forest preserves, gardens, pools/water parks, climbing walls and putt-putt golf to name just a few.


Values: Our camp shares the standards and expectations of The Montessori School of Lake Forest. We emphasize grace and courtesy as a natural expression of the human spirit. Children and adults alike are treated kindly and respectfully.


Location: Our camp location is nestled on 5.5 acres just west of Middlefork Savanna at the Montessori School of Lake Forest. Our natural habitats include prairie, wetland, woodland and savanna. We have full use of an elementary science lab, a large kitchen, organic garden, and a gymnasium.


All trips and activities are presented in a nurturing, non-competitive, supportive atmosphere promoting fun and encouraging lasting friendships. We hope you’ll consider making us part of your summer fun!


“The camp experience embraces the natural environment. While children have fewer and fewer opportunities to be outdoors, the camp experience advances the outdoor learning environment. As we become more concerned about saving the planet, we run out and make DVDs and videos about it. But the environment needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Kids need to catch tadpoles in the creek, wander among the trees, and feel the sun on their faces to understand the importance of those things.”

Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods)


9:00 Arrival
9:00 – 9:30 Flag Raising, Pledge, Share, and Song
9:30 – 10:00 Daily Garden Activity
10:00 – 11:30 Ecosystem Themed Fun
11:30 – 12:00 Clean up and Lunch Preparation
12:00 – 12:05 Thank Yous, Complements, Announcements
12:05 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 1:00 Quiet Work
1:00 – 1:15 Mindfulness
1:15 – 1:45 Supervised Unstructured Free Time
1:45 – 2:45 Flag Project/ Ecosystem Related Activity
2:45 – 3:00 Clean Up
3:00 Carpool Circle Pick Up


View this Camp Listing in the Libertyville Area Mom’s and Chicago North Shore Mom’s North Suburban Summer Camp Guide!

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