Our approach and curriculum
We adopt an innovative mentoring approach that integrates emergent learning, visual and performing arts, mindfulness practices, loose parts play and games. Our philosophy is similar to the Reggio Emilia approach, where children are empowered to direct their own learning experience with the guidance of trusted mentors.
Some of the key methods used by our instructors include:
- Emergent learning: Awareness of the outdoor environment leads to unexpected learning opportunities! We integrate these highly motivating moments into student learning as a rule.
- Place-based: Fostering a sense of place by directly interacting with local heritage, cultures and landscapes.
- Experiential learning: Learning through direct experience, hands-on skill development and crafting, and personal reflection
- Inquiry-based: Encouraging participants to pose questions and actively seek their own answers
- Play-based: Incorporation of self-directed and facilitated learning through play, including natural loose parts
- Cross-curricular learning: Conscious design and integration of multiple subjects
Forest School Curriculum is intentionally designed to complement Ontario’s Elementary Curriculum expectations. Core subjects (Science, Language, Physical Education, Mathematics, Social Studies and the Arts) are woven into our own curriculum to build skills and knowledge across 8 major learning areas:
- Naturalist Literacy
- Social Connection
- Motor Skills
- Orientation and Reading the Land
- Creativity and Skill Building
- Curiosity and Initiative
Decoding Trees & Compound Words – A Story from Forest School
Today we shared gratitude for the trees that surround us. They give us so much to explore – nuts and cones, leaves and needles, all different shapes, sizes and colours! With a little help from our field guides, we were able to identify who these trees are, uncover their abilities, and learn of their origins.
When creating our field guide entries for a tree that sparked our curiosity, two students sat beside one another and read together. They read aloud like a musical chorus, echoing points that intrigued them. All doubts and fears of mistakes melted away into the outdoor classroom’s backdrop of swaying leaves and park chatter. When it came time to spell the words, the students broke up syllables with clapping hands, blended sounds together, and shouted with enthusiasm when letters connected. They worked as a team to eagerly decode the English language like tree identifiers examining leaf shape and bark texture.
Forest School has been such a wonderful experience for our daughter. The educators, community, environment, and pedagogy all come together to create a space where she and her friends can truly thrive. Here's to child-centered learning that nurtures a sense of wonder and responsibility -- not just in children, but in families as well. Thank you Pine!— Ben, Parent of Yatri, age 5
WEST END: King’s Mill Park / Etienne Brule Park
A payment plan is available. Bursaries are available through our Bursary Fund.
Please stay tuned for registration details!
*We follow an application to register process – families apply to register a student and after brief review, we’ll send you an email to confirm your acceptance in the program or follow up with some additional questions.