Come learn with us in Forest and Nature School!
Our Forest and Nature School Program was established in September 2014. We offer a JK/SK program guided by Forest and Nature School Canada’s (FNSC) constructivist emergent approach to learning.
Forest and Nature School programs have been offered around the world since the 1950s. Most prevalent in Scandinavian Countries, however the approach is gaining international momentum supported by research. In the UK alone, there are over ten thousand Forest Schools. The first Forest and Nature School opened in Canada in 2008 and today many more are opening across the country.
A certified Forest School Practitioner oversees the Forest and Nature School Program. In the Forest School Program, the children spend the majority of the day outdoors in a natural environment. Forest and Nature Schools are graciously supported by Indigenous Elders and Youth Leaders, offering sophisticated land-based education to the children, educators and families. At the heart of Indigenous learning and philosophy in much of Canada are the Seven Grandfather Teachings: love, honesty, humility, respect, bravery, wisdom, and truth. Indigenous pedagogy in many places is also rooted in the Four Directions. The Four Directions Teachings tell us about who we are as human beings in terms of our life cycles as well as in terms of our emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual selves.
Both International and Canadian research has been focused on the benefits of the Forest and Nature School approach. The PARTICIPACTION research project is a wonderful example of a Canadian multidisciplinary research project that focuses on the benefits of outdoor inquiry based education.
FNSC is a space based, played based curriculum approach where revisiting a natural site on a regular basis exposes children to an environment where they observe day to day and seasonal changes.
Our program takes place in our natural play spaces as well as at a forest sight. We visit our forest location regularly. When the program occurs off site, two additional staff join the group.
The environment is seen as an educator.
Children learn through the freedom to explore and make discoveries in their natural world. They partake in hands on experiences such as using tools, ropes, fort building and camp fires. Through the many loose parts the natural environment provides, children engage in collaborative projects, which enhance emotional development, resiliency, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. The outdoor environment also contributes to the practice of early literacy, math and science.
Exposure to the outdoors enables children to better focus, and relieves stress. FNSC focuses on the holistic development of the children, educators and families. Children develop a connection to themselves, others, and the natural world. FNSC nurtures the ecological identities of children, educators and families, a connection that encourages children to become stewards of the environment.
How Does Learning Happen, Think, Feel, Act Document, and Forest and Nature School Canada’s Document are also used in guiding our curriculum.
Check out our Facebook Page to see what we have been doing in our Forest School Program.
Also visit www.forestschool.com for more information on Forest School.