This is a collaborative effort of nature preschools throughout Vancouver Island. We’re planning a conference for preschoolers where we will all gather for a weekend in June 2016 (dates are still left to be determined) at a Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park…where they have a Nature House, and host a 3-day conference for children who have been enrolled in a nature preschool (or early learning nature education program) on Vancouver Island. Every child will be pre-registered for a number of workshops beforehand. Parents and children will (or have the option to) arrive Friday evening. Our first activity will be a welcome ceremony and nature presentation at the amphitheater. Then we will have a Saturday morning opening circle with everyone (parents and children) present, with more welcomes, songs and announcements. Saturday will be divided into several morning and afternoon workshops. Our community of nature preschool educators will be offering the workshops, where parents would have read about them beforehand and upon registering they will enroll their children in the workshops. Saturday evening we will have another nature presentation at the amphitheater. Sunday we will have morning opening circle with everyone present again, more songs and announcements and then morning workshops (again, all pre-registered). Finally we would end our conference with a community picnic lunch, songs, crafts and a goodbye closing circle. All meals will be brought and prepared by each family, and families will camp for the weekend or 1 night.

This conference will be a volunteer event, all put together by the collective efforts of nature preschool educators as a way of giving back to our Vancouver Island community of parents, guardians and grandparents who have believed in our programs and supported us throughout…and in an effort not to exclude anyone, parents would pre-register their children by donation only (so the only finances that families would be responsible for is traveling to and from the location, camping fee(s) and meal(s). Half of the proceeds will then go to supporting a natural environment on Vancouver Island in need of financial support. This year we have chosen to support the Cumberland Community Forest Society and help them purchase forest land that is currently being threatened for logging. The other half of the proceeds will be deposited into a Vancouver Island Nature Preschool bank account where grants will be written by Vancouver Island nature preschools for financial assistance with their program(s).

This is a great effort and a wonderful opportunity to bring all of the Vancouver Island nature preschool families and educators together in one forest, on one island and in support of what we all do and love best…teach, learn and play with children in nature!

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