Nonprofit, Nature-Based School
located in Madison County, NC 

*Woodson Branch Nature School

K-8 located in Marshall, NC

just 10 minutes outside of Hot Springs, NC
where the Appalachian Trail & the French Broad River meet!


Our Guide Star page

HISTORY of Woodson Branch Nature School


Founded in 2008, MCCLC began in Hot Springs, NC serving children ages 3 – 12 years old with Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, After School, Home School Support, and Summer Camps. The non-profit became an NC state-licensed child care facility, securing and maintaining the state approval as five-star rated in all programs. It went from serving 10 students per year in 2008, to serving an average of 90 students per year currently.


In 2016, the organization was given a generous gift from the Cato Foundation to expand its services. With the gift, the organization purchased 30 acres in Marshall, NC conveniently located on US HWY 25, just outside of Hot Springs. The nonprofit officially changed its name (from Hot Springs Community Learning Center) to Madison County Community Learning Centers and in addition to its exceptional quality preschool program in Hot Springs, began offering an elementary and middle school grades full curriculum nature school, after-school enrichment programs, summer camps, and Community Arts Program with all-ages workshops. The participants in our programs have access to abundant acreage in rural Madison County, complete with rolling hills, a well-established blueberry orchard, apple trees, pasture,  indoor classrooms, an 1800 sq. ft., 2-story tobacco barn, pristine forest with trails, three creeks, and multiple waterfalls that serve as the property border to the National Forest.

In 2019, we combined the two locations and moved our Preschool Program to the 30 acre campus, offering a half day / mostly outdoor program for our four year old students.  

Today ....

Staff and students come from all over the surrounding areas and across the state line from Tennessee. All staff are certified in early childhood and/or elementary or middle grades education and are engaged in on-going professional development. They have co-created the curriculum structure and behavior management system, managing an extensive community visitor base and field trip program. Together the learning community (families, local businesses, staff, students, and community volunteers) have built an exceptional learning space!




To grow healthier communities by providing the most effective childhood education through physically engaging lessons and ample time in nature. 

It is our Vision   to provide our students with an authentic well rounded education intended to foster the confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills they will need to be successful in the greater community.