Along with following the Forest School Model, a national standard set by the Children and Alliance of Canada (CNAC) of being child-led and nature-based, our nature education program is comprised of 2 main components: Ecology and Adventure Education!
The Ecology component of our program focuses on becoming creative interpreters through the exploration of the natural world around us. This allows the individual student the time and space to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world and then to express these feelings and make learning visible through many methods such as drawing, painting, writing, song and other expressions. Birds will be viewed through binoculars, sea creatures through nets and plants through magnifying glasses. Throughout the year we will explore, question and interpret through sensorial play, engaging activities and meaningful encounters. We will follow the interests of the children, value their passions, ideas and individual learning styles, and provide an experience to encourage developmentally appropriate in-depth learning.
Our Adventure Education component facilitates personal and interpersonal growth and is instrumental in the practice of SEDL skills (social, emotional, development and learning). Through hands-on activities, such as team building and group cooperative games, children are able to expand on their development in communication, problem solving, cooperation, trust building and risk-taking in an atmosphere that feels safe, respectful and fun. Children engage in supervised risky-play, both finding their boundaries and staying safe from an internal knowledge of their bodies’ limitations, and pushing themselves to expand their skills by learning how to assess risk, problem-solving, mastery of physical skills with repetition, all while laughing and having fun! Children are guided in making connections between these activities and “real-life” situations. Families report a positive impact on home climate, child performance and interpersonal dynamics when these activities are reinforced in the home.
Activities and Educational Outcomes
Here are just a few of the Educational Outcomes associated with Forest and Nature School:
- Exploration with buckets, ropes and shovels – Skills with tools
- Drawing, shelter building and arranging items – Defining goals and planning
- Story time, language, literacy and writing activities – Verbal and written communication
- Counting objects and looking for patterns – Mathematics and visual recognition
- Memory and imagination games – Brain development and thought exploration
- Team building games – Group Cooporation and trust building
- Exploring and reflecting – Self awareness and character development
- Singing songs, rhyming, and interactive puppet and role play – Creative arts
- Gross motor development, walking and movement – Physical fitness
- Playing and emotional well being – Having fun!