Wild Wednesdays are for 5-8-year-old kids who like to be outside and be active, and practice skills of wilderness survival like fire making and finding food, sneaking close to animals, growing resilience to weather and emotions and just enjoy playing in our beautiful place on earth. We are welcoming homeschoolers and kids who are going to any school and like a half-day of outdoor education.
Most kids today do not get enough time outside and not enough free playtime. Yet research keeps telling us how beneficial it is for physical, mental and social wellbeing. Forest school aims to help build resilient kids, at a time when we really need the next generation to be healthy and capable.
Every Wednesday, we do our core routines of grateful greetings, expanding sensory awareness, wandering, befriending local plants and animals, mindful sit spot, making music and storytelling. Start and end circle are times for bonding, sharing and setting the tone of kindness, curiosity and joy.
There are lots of time for child-led play that follows the emergent imagination of the kids at the moment. We will introduce mapping, tracking, journaling, land art and crafts, tree climbing, survival shelters, friction fire and fire safety. We recognize the benefits of adventurous play yet take many measurements to ensure safety. We co-assess and co-manage risk with the children so that they learn to acknowledge, manage and overcome risks, in order to be exposed to the benefits of risk, rather than the hazards.
The program is based on Nature Awareness Mentoring (also called Coyote Mentoring or the 8 Shields model) that is used in many outdoor schools. More than education and recreation, it is a way to foster nature connection and community connection.