Marie was our son's pre-school teacher for two years. We absolutely love her respect for children, her sense of fun and adventure, her calm demeanor in times of stress and her teaching philosophy. She is really talented at holding space for kids and at the same time letting them explore. We felt so safe and happy knowing she was caring for our son. Five years later we are still friends!
~ Miriam B.
I can't think of a better teacher/guide for a child than Marie Harper. We trusted all ours with her and were always impressed and grateful!
- Joe B.
Heart Rock Forest School is a treasure. The program Marie has thoughtfully created allows kids to have freedom and independence in an environment where they learn about nature, social skills, and themselves. What more could a parent ask for? I took the kids hiking the week following their time with Marie and Helene, and my 5-year old correctly identified Poison Oak and told me to watch out for it. Then my 7-year old pointed out Stinging Nettle. (I verified these on my phone’s app because my parents didn’t send me to a camp like this…and my kids were right!) Not only did my kids have a great time, but I also felt at ease during camp. I trusted Marie with my boys from the moment we met. She has a calm energy and confidence that is just what you want in an educator. I am so grateful that we learned about this program, and I highly recommend it.
- Caline S.
This has been the absolute best thing for my kids! I completely trust Marie and love how she cares so much about my kiddos. I always long for nature, and having my kids explore such amazing areas around LA is simply perfect! - Shoshana S.
We adore Marie and her program! My four year old is thriving, and getting such a special experience. She gives the children freedom to explore and build confidence. They get to watch tadpoles develop day by day into frogs; climb; create; play; draw; adventure. My child comes home so happy, and I am grateful that we found her.
We are so grateful to have found Marie and Helene. They bring so much love, inspiration, insight, experience, curiosity and joy to their work with children. My daughter absolutely thrives in their care. If you're looking for a respectful approach, child-led/emergent and anti-bias program in an absolutely magical outdoor setting, you cannot do better than Heart Rock. So much love. Can't say enough good things!
- Brenna S.
We had the great fortune to be a part of a co-op led by Heart Rock Forest School's Program Director, Marie Harper, when my son was little - and we still look back on those years as the most engaged and creative and empowering, school-wise, to date! Marie created the perfect blend of structure and creative freedom. The kids spent the day outside, which I loved, integrating their surroundings into the day's adventure in learning. Her students had vastly different personalities, and Marie handled them all with deafness and ease, encouraging each of them to express themselves with kindness and respect. Because our great outdoor classroom was free of the encroachment of those plastic noise making toys that often fill the school settings of young learners (and believe me we have many of those noisemakers at home :)) – but because they weren't part of the school setting, the kids were able to focus on the seemingly simpler, but far more engaging, tasks of using water, wood, cardboard, and other bells-and-whistle free objects to create.
Marie always lead with kindness while keeping the kids safe and respectful of one another. She encouraged their love for nature tapping into the natural curiosity of young people in an outdoor setting. We feel immensely fortunate that we had the years we did with Marie in the co-op learning setting and only wish heart rock for school had existed sooner.
- Seana K.
Marie has been the best thing to come of 2021. My 3yo joined her forest school program & subsequent summer camp after being without much social opportunity during covid times. Not only did it feel safer to be outdoors with a modality like this in those moments, but it was a wonderful fit for him. The experience also aligns with our values as a family, since there seems no better time to be learning via exploration in nature before moving into more traditional school years. Moreover, Marie and Helene use respectful principles, just as we use respectful parenting. It is helpful to be supported and aligned with established educators with years of experience to draw from in this realm, not to mention, the creativity with which they arrive. It helps that Marie is naturally passionate about outdoor life and hiking. My son comes home dirty, with collections of discoveries (read: pockets of rocks) and new science learnings, as well as stories of empathy from experiences with other kids - and from beautiful books selected by Marie and Helene. I couldn't have asked for bigger magic for my little one.