Our Story

What’s in a Name?

The Engelmann Spruce is one of seven species of spruce indigenous to the US and a major component of the ecosystem of the high-elevation Rocky Mountain Forests. It grows from just a seed into a resilient and essential part of the mountain environment. We chose this beautiful tree because it symbolizes the values of growth, resilience, and inter-connectedness that we hold dear and a calling to protect and learn from nature. It is to this important philosophy that we dedicate our efforts to build a beginning for all our children.


Engelmann is a 501(c)(3) non-denominational private school located in the forest of the Wasatch Mountains in Big Cottonwood Canyon with an emphasis on spending much of the days in the outdoors and learning through adventure and experience.

Our two goals are:

1. To provide experiential outdoor education for students pre-K through 2nd grade in a private school

2. To create a learning center for students of any age looking for academic support, outdoor adventure, and tutoring in the community

Founded by a small group of Silverfork residents, we are interested in fostering the values needed to support kids and all learners in this beautiful, rich, outdoor environment of Big Cottonwood Canyon nestled in the Wasatch Mountains. We hope to officially open our doors for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Mission Statement

Children are creative, curious and have a pure sense of wonder. At Engelmann Mountain School, our mission is to preserve and nurture those innate characteristics throughout the lifespan.

We are passionate about facilitating and offering opportunities where students of all ages will be challenged and supported in expressing themselves, understanding compassion and discovering what they are capable of achieving. 

Additionally, we hope that Engelmann can offer a place of community, collaboration and integration.

Goals for Private School 

We aim to…

  • Provide children with a connection to the outdoors, nature, and foster an interest in protecting our earth. 
  • Develop motivated learners capable of working individually and with others in both creative and analytic ways.
  • Develop understanding and utilization of the scientific method, observational and data-driven thinking.
  • Create lifelong learners who ask questions, develop hypotheses, solve problems, learn from challenges, and work to make sense of their experiences.
  • Foster values of exploration, creativity, service, and compassion for themselves, others, and the world around them.
  • Learn about the natural world, which will act as our classroom as often as possible, in studies including evolution and climate change.
  • Encourage real-life, integrated assessment and eliminate standardized testing. (We will provide assessments that allow parents to understand grade level functioning in reading and abstract thought.) 
  • Offer a school environment that incorporates academic learning, outdoor education, and interaction with a variety of ages. See our school schedule for more information.
  • Grow community relationships and collaborate with organizations to deepen our students’ connections to our place, both environmental and community.

Goals for Learning Center/Continuing Education

  • Accessible during scheduled units- see our updates for current options. (We envision this to be an option for students in traditional schooling as well.)  
  • Flexible and able to reach the learner where they are and in what they are interested in learning.
  • Keep the child alive in your heart and mind by becoming a member! (More information about this to follow.)   

Additional visions for the future 

While we’re starting small-ish, we are dreaming big! In addition to the “2 arms” of Engelmann Mountain School, we envision further community integration and welcome input as we make our way into the world.

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