About Us

All about Forest School, Pedagogy and Guiding Principals.

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Principles

Forest School Principles and Criteria for Good Practice

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What to Expect

What do we actually do at a Forest School?

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Registration

I'm interested! Tuition information, registration, and next steps.

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What to Expect

​"Forest School provides children with repeated and regular access to a natural space as well as play-based, place-based, experiential, child-directed, emergent, and inquiry-based learning." - Forest School Canada

Each day at Forest School is a little different depending on where the children guide us in their play.  We spend most of our day, if not all, outdoors in nature.  Children are inspired by place, time, and the phenology of the seasons as well as their interactions with each other.   Children's wonders, ideas, and interests guide the learning and shape the day.

What do we actually do at a Forest School?
  • We build learning communities through play, adversity, and resiliency.
  • We learn in nature as children are innately drawn to it.
  • We learn through play as it is in this context that children are most receptive.
  • We honour the will of the child.
  • We celebrate the hundred languages of children.
  • We offer learning environments that do not teach to predetermined outcomes.
  • We support children's learning by scaffolding interests, wonders, ideas, creations, questions, thinking, and interactions.
We learn in, with, and through nature.
In:

Nearby nature spaces including forests, streams, wet lands, orchards, grasslands, meadows, creeks, kitchen gardens and the beach in winter, spring, summer, and autumn.

With:

We use the unlimited loose parts found in these nature settings to tinker, make, build, whittle, weave, create, paint, roll, swing, climb over, tie knots around, and form with in every and all ways that we think possible.

Through:

We get inspired by the ever-changing ebb and flow of the seasons. We glean bits of knowledge form the flora and fauna beneath our feet, above our heads, and all around us. Like branches on trees, these bits of knowledge stretch our learning to greater heights.

​"Let nature be your teacher" - William Wordsworth

At Forest School we:


play
make
experiment
sing
listen
smell
touch
​taste
track
create
reflect
light
notice
plant
hike
weave
map
explore
climb
build 
observe
tie
whittle
cook

At Forest School we explore:


indigenous culture
safety, adventure, risk
properties of materials
woodland crafts
how, what, & why of all things 
​tying knots
history, story
planting, harvesting
ecosystems
sustainability 
tool use
​fire building, cooking

At Forest School we experience:


sharing, compromise 
collaboration, autonomy
independence 
raised confidence
a sense of success
ability to self-initiate tasks
ability to concentrate
problem solving
making friends
working in groups
raised self esteem
sense of individuality
empathy, compassion
​adaptability
​ability to communicate
​resiliency
​"The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his movement" - Dr. Montessori

The Shape of the Day

Although the learning at Forest School is child-directed, rituals ​shape the day, week, month, season, and year. 

Our days begin with a greeting circle

We embark on adventures

​We share stories, songs, and poems during snack time

We plant and tend a garden

We harvest and cook on open fires

We celebrate the change in seasons, the culture of the land and people that came before us

We use a talking stick to reflect on our journeys and adventures

 

The Curriculum Framework
for Ontario early childhood settings

Early Learning for Every Child Today
A Framework for Ontario Early Childhood Settings
​​

How Does Learning Happen?
Ontario's Pedagogy for Early Years

Picture
How does Learning Happen?  Ontario's Pedagogy for Early Years
https://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/HowLearningHappens.pdf​

The four foundations of How Does Learning Happen?

The four conditions that are important for children to grow and flourish:

Belonging refers to a sense of connectedness to others, an individual's experiences of being valued.  Of forming relationships with others and making contributions as part of a group, the community, the natural world.

Well-Being addresses the importance of physical and mental health and wellness.  It incorporates capacities such as self-care, sense of self, and self-regulation skills. 

Engagement suggests a state of being involved and focused.  When children are able to explore the world around them with their natural curiosity and exuberance, they are fully engaged.  Through this type of play and inquiry, they develop skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, and innovating, which are essential for learning and success in school and beyond.  

Expression or communication (to be heard, as well as to listen) may take many different forms.  Through their bodies, words, and use of materials, children develop capacities for increasingly complex communication.  Opportunities to explore materials support creativity, problem solving, and mathematical behaviours.  Language-rich environments support growing communication skills. which are foundational for literacy.
​"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -Yeats

Safety:

When it comes to safety we believe in the risk/benefit balance.  Instead of minimizing all risk, we believe that it is valuable to accept some risk because it is important to recognize that moderate risk has its benefits.  How do we expect a child, for example, to learn how to ride a bike if we do not accept the risk of them falling down a few times?  

​All of our sites are risk assessed as we endeavour to make them as safe as necessary rather than as safe as possible.  Before we begin each day we complete a Site Risk Assessment and we maintain clear boundaries within each location.  

Practitioners are fully trained in CPR and First Aid certified. Children are provided with high visibility vests so we can keep each other in view and child to educator ratio is 1:6. 

Age appropriate risk taking is encouraged in small, achievable steps as children learn to manage their own abilities when gauging physical, emotional, and social risks.  As children succeed in increasingly risky challenges, they learn to self-regulate through increased self-awareness. "We can do it!" This is one of the statements often heard at Forest School.