Why a Forest School?
What is Forest School
We define Forest and Nature School as an education ethos and practice that puts nature and the child at play at the centre of learning. Children and educators build a relationship with the land through regular and repeated access to the same natural space over an extended period of time. (Child and Nature Alliance Canada, 2018)
Discovery Forest and Nature School
Kindergarten Children in our program spend their day in our 1.7 acre Outdoor Nature Classroom. The children develop a sense of place through meaningful play experiences that are inspired by their own interests and curiosities (known as emergent curriculum). This program spends three mornings per week in Veteran’s Woods Forest where educators support children in play, making connections to the land and investigating the biodiversity that the forest has to offer.
Discovery’s Forest and Nature School Program is lead by a team of educators comprised of Certified Forest School Practitioners, Registered Early Childhood Educators and Assistants. These educators are loving, nurturing, skilled professionals with a profound love and respect of the great outdoors. This passion for nature is modelled by the educators for the children and becomes the foundation for developing a sense of stewardship among our young learners.
Some of the many varied learning opportunities available to the children are: Working with ropes and learning knots, tool use (saws, knives, handrills), fire building and cooking, building with natural loose parts, tracking, flora and fauna identification, shelter building, climbing (including trees), assessing risks, snow shoeing, skating, birding, puddle jumping, story telling, sit spots, expanding sensory awareness, mapping, journalling, gratitude and exploring indigenous perspectives.
“Every child lives someplace. And that someplace begins to matter when children are invited to know where they are and to participate in the unfolding life of that place—coming to know the changes in the light and in the feel of the air, and participating in a community of people who speak of such things to each other.”
(Ann Pelo, A Pedagogy for Ecology)
Healthy Risk in the Forest & Nature School
Discovery programs provide an environment that supports children in taking healthy risks during play. Discovery staff use a variety of risk assessment tools to support both planned and spontaneous experiences. Healthy, manageable risks play an important role in the development of children. By challenging themselves, children build resilience, overcome fears, increase self esteem, build physical and emotional competence, problem solve, and learn to keep themselves safe.
Potential Benefits of Participating in Forest and Nature School
- Improved confidence, social skills, communication, motivation, and concentration.
- Improved physical stamina, fine and gross motor skills.
- Positive identity formation for individuals and communities.
- Environmentally sustainable behaviours and ecological literacy.
- Increased knowledge of environment, increased frequency of visiting nature within families.
- Healthy and safe risk-taking.
- Improved creativity and resilience.
- Improved academic achievement and self-regulation.
- Reduced stress and increased patience, self-discipline, capacity for attention, and recovery from mental fatigue.
- Improved higher level cognitive skills.
Forest and Nature School in Canada: A Head, Heart, Hands Approach to Outdoor Learning. (2014). “What is Forest and Nature School?”
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Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. At Discovery we believe this and invite you to visit us and learn more about our programs, facility and experience!