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, Coyote Pups: Ages 5-7
WEST END: King’s Mill Park / Etienne Brule Park, Fiery Foxes: Ages 8-10
A payment plan is available. Bursaries are available through our Bursary Fund.
Registration for the 2021/22 school year will open on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at noon!
After that date, please click the “register” button below to access our registration system and submit an application.
Please review this IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION before applying to register.
*We follow an application to register process – families apply to register a participant and after brief review, we’ll send you an email to confirm your acceptance in the program or follow up with some additional questions.
***Please note: The cancellation policy for Forest School differs from that of other school year programs. Please ensure you review the policy closely before registering and click here for our full registration policies.
A $2,000 deposit is required for each registration. Of this, $1,000 is non-refundable.
A full refund, less a $1,000 non-refundable deposit, will be issued to any cancellation made during the notice period of 28 calendar days or more prior to the start date of the program.
Cancellations before December 15th will result in a 50% reimbursement of the program tuition.
No refunds will be issued after December 15th.
Behaviour: Students are expected to honour the Pine Project’s Code of Conduct. We reserve the right to dismiss a student whose behaviour is out of line with this Code of Conduct in a way that puts themself or others at risk. No refund will be issued for dismissals.
Weather: Forest School runs rain or shine. We don’t provide refunds or credits for days missed due to weather. All children should come to school with weather-appropriate clothing and related gear. In the event that extreme weather jeopardizes the health and safety of students and staff, the Pine Project may choose to cancel the school day. No refunds will be issued.
Park access: The Pine Project operates in public parks. In very rare circumstances where access to the park has been restricted without notice, school may be cancelled if an alternative location can not be secured. No refunds will be issued.
Low enrollment: The Pine Project reserves the right to cancel a program due to low enrollment. A full refund will be issued.
We reserve the right to cancel a program or change a program’s duration, price or location.
Circumstances beyond our control/force majeure: The Pine Project will determine whether a refund is warranted.
If we are required to cancel in-person school for any period of time due to government mandate, public health recommendations or other Covid-related circumstances:
- We are not able to guarantee a notice period. However, we will do our very best to advise families as soon as possible.
- Virtual programming will be provided in lieu of in-person programming. No refunds will be issued. Individual cancellation requests will not be accepted.
All cancellations must be requested in writing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize that extenuating circumstances exist. For cancellations due to medical illnesses, or for any other compassionate reason, please apply in writing to email@example.com. If the reason is medical- or illness-related please include official documentation.