About Us

The Rolla Outdoor Collaborative School (ROCS) is a non-profit collaborative  preschool, homeschool and afterschool enrichment program  for the families of Rolla and the surrounding areas. The program is completely outdoors and takes place in the 70 acre Ozark Rivers Audubon Trails and Nature Center. ROCS has a 1:6 teacher-student ratio for preschool age children and at least one additional adult helper present at all times. All staff are trained in First Aid and CPR. Children are under the direct supervision of a staff person at all times.

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Our Mission

To provide a collaborative childcare environment where children can develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically while immersed in nature. We strive to create an environment where caregivers can learn alongside their children. We work towards building a community with a goal of encouraging resilience, fostering independence, and instilling a sense of wonder and creating a new generation of nature stewards.

Our Approach

Our curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and follows the seasons. Children are naturally curious about the environment, and we let their natural discoveries guide our explorations. Our program includes a balance of teacher-directed and child-directed activities. Teacher-directed activities include group meeting/circle time, projects, crafts, hikes and science experiments. The remainder of our program time is centered on child-directed activities such as our learning centers (gross motor play, blocks, easel, dramatic play, sensory bins, mud kitchen, books, etc). Materials are rotated to spark and extend children’s play themes. Our curriculum focuses on the experience and children being in the moment. Our student-centered, process-based philosophy introduces young students to a lifetime of learning. 

Our school days are spent outdoors, rain or shine. Our students come to school prepared for all of the elements. Wet and rainy days provide some of our most magical experiences. Our seventy-acre nature sanctuary is never the same place twice and our students engage with the environment and build knowledge in deep and meaningful ways in all types of weather. Families are our partners and ensure children are properly dressed for the weather each day. We see a direct correlation between how dirty and messy children get and how happy they feel. 

Our Collaborative Philosophy

The collaborative philosophy is what created and holds our school together. The school was founded through hard work and dedication by a group of families focused upon the central mission. In order to keep our school going strong, we depend on the collaborative efforts of the families involved. Families contribute to the maintenance of the nature center and our classroom and join the class as helpers on a regular basis. The school is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors, which meets regularly to establish policies and guidelines for the operation of the school. These positions, working with the Director and caregivers, are in place to support our goal of being a family administered school that is financed by registration, fees, and fundraisers. Caregiver participation is vital to the operation and success of this school.  Our students truly benefit from all our families’ contributions to  the school.

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Contact us

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