What activities might my child do?
- Walking, jumping, running, climbing trees
- Nature crafts, painting and clay
- Fire Building & cooking
- Learn edible and medicinal uses of plants
- Find tracks and discover their stories
- Moving like animals and learning about our place
- Bird language
- Music & Rhythm
- Listening to and telling stories
- Building forts of sticks or snow and fairy houses
- Navigation, safaty and survival skills
- Yoga and mindfulness
- Games like tag, hiding, sensory games
What is a Forest School?
Forest schools can be found in many parts of the world and are gaining in popularity all over Canada. Some Forest Schools are outside 100%, others have an indoor option but aim to spend most time outdoors. Forest schools are typically child-centered, interest-led and place-based. Children are provided with the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship to the land through regular visits to the same location. Educators present mini-lessons when children show interest in learning more about a topic. Using inquiry-based teaching styles, teachers prompt children to ask why and foster the development of the child’s own critical thinking skills. Children spend a large portion of program time engaged in valuable unstructured play.
What is child-led learning?
It’s about letting a child ‘go’, to do what they need to do in order to learn and to grow. When children are provided with a rich and stimulating learning environment their natural eagerness to understand takes charge. Children follow their own play patterns encoded in their body and developing brain, whether they are in their own world or playing with other children. During Forest School, it is the teacher’s job to watch and wait as they discover, invent and explore. The child may show an interest in music, collecting pinecones, building forts, imaginative play or finding bugs and the teachers will support them when required or requested.
How does playing outside help my child learn?
Creative outdoor play is a fantastic way for children to learn. The beauty of using natural objects in play is that children need to use verbal skills to communicate the meaning and purpose of an object to each other. A stick, for example, becomes a walkie-talkie, a magic wand, an animal, or a fishing pole in the development of a play scenario. Children spontaneously invent more creative plot lines in play where they are not surrounded by toys or materials with a predetermined use and meaning. In this way, outdoor play is conducive to the further development of imagination and creativity.
What ages are your programs for?
The parent and child program Frog & Tadpole is for kids between 0-6.
The Forest Kids programs are for kids between 3 and 6 and the kids need to be potty trained though we know that accidents happen, just bring a change of clothes.
The Wild Child Fridays are for age 6-12.
We can make slight exceptions if the child seems to be ready to be part of a program.
Can I come to visit before I sign up my child?
Contact us to arrange for a visit, for you or you and your child. Parents are also welcome to stay with their child if needed to support the kids getting used to this program. You can also consider dropping-in to the Frog & Tadpole program.
Who are my child’s teachers?
All facilitators have experience working with children in the outdoors. They hold formal qualifications including BEd, MA and valid First Aid certificates. Each facilitator has a clear criminal record check and Vulnerable Sector Check. Learn more about each teacher here.
What are the ways I can pay for the programs?
Payment must be made prior to the start of programs unless alternate arrangements have been made or for the programs with drop-in (Frog & Tadpole).
Funding help? For scholarships, contact us and describe your situation and needs.
There are 3 ways to pay:
- Pay online with credit card at www.theforestpath.ca
- E-transfer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cash or Check also work. Please make checks payable to: Malin Christensson.
Mailing address 508 Houston St, Nelson BC, V1L 5H7.
What if I need to cancel?
We understand that life happens and you may need to cancel for some reason. Parents may withdraw a child from the program at any time. If the program is cancelled by the Forest Path for any reason, a full refund will be provided.
If you cancel your registration 2 weeks ahead of time, a full refund will be provided minus a $20 administration fee. If you cancel within 2 weeks and we are able to fill that spot with another child, a full refund will be provided minus a $20 administration fee. If we are not able to fill that spot with another child, we will refund 50% of the program cost. No credit for missed classes. In the event of a last-minute emergency, contact the office to discuss refund options.
Why is it good for kids to be outdoors?
Humans evolved to be outdoors. It is our birthright! We believe learning doesn’t have to be confined to four walls. The program follows the Forest School philosophy which is child-directed, emergent and inquiry-based learning. Research continues to show that nature reduces stress, increases attention span and fosters healthy brain development. It is critical to the healthy development of the whole child. See the resources page for more reading. Our other leg in our approach is Coyote Mentoring, which is based on a wholesome, healthy way to create community, learning and connection.
What happens if my child gets cold?
Teachers will be proactive by checking in with children regularly on how they are feeling. Physical activities that keep the children warm are encouraged and on cold days the facilitators will either bring hot tea or make tea or soup on the site. We also bring hand/foot warmers and sometimes make a fire. The coldest we have been in so far was -10, for a two-hour session, with no big complaints. Depending on the wind chill, classes might be cancelled due to too cold weather.
How do you stay safe? What about bears, cougars, ticks, sticks, storms?
Read our Safety Handbook.
Please tell your child that it is important to listen to the Forest School teachers in order to keep them safe. We also include the children in looking for hazards.
In summer times, please check your child for ticks after each day. We have not seen many.
We have so far just seen a bear once for the 4 years of The Forest Path and that was with an unusually small group of only 4 people. We carry bear spray.
How do you go potty?
Children must be comfortable using (or learning to using) the bathroom outdoors. The facilitators bring a small shovel, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We teach appropriate ways to leave no trace and choice of site and will assist younger kids by holding them up if needed. Here is some advice for girls.