About Forest School
Our Take on Forest School
I feel that it is extremely important for both children’s emotional and physical development to have ample opportunity to explore our natural world. As most of you know the weather in Calgary can be harsh at times forcing us to stay in doors for long stretches in the winter, which is why I feel it’s so important to take the opportunities to be out doors when they arise. Adding a forest school element to my dayhome was an important step in ensuring that the children in my care get as much time to explore nature as possible.
We pack up our meals, crafts and activities and head out to explore all the amazing natural areas our communities has to offer. We have winter cookouts in Bowness park and summer hikes at Big Hill Springs. We do yoga in the park, meditate by the pond, read stories under the poplars and have rousing games of tag in the big open fields. We spend the morning down by the local creek catching butterflies and cray fish and we spend the afternoon finding the perfect tree to climb. We eat breakfast in the early morning sun nap in the hot summer shade.
Our forest school days give the children the opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills. They learn to expand their personal limits and respect natural boundaries. They practice problem solving, teamwork and cooperation. They learn to manage challenges and get to feel a wonderful sense of pride when accomplishing something new.
Learning Through Play
The forest school approach demands that the outside space is not seen as merely a place where children go to burn off energy. The divide between indoors and outdoors is broken and children learn in and from nature. They are given freedom to direct their own learning and enter in to a certain amount of risky play. This in turn increases their sense of engagement and motivation. The rich variety of activities on offer and the sense of independence can have very positive effects on a child’s intellectual, cognitive, physical and emotional development. It can help to build a child’s self-esteem and confidence whilst also providing a springboard for numerous academic pursuits touching upon every area of learning.