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forest kindergarten

A Forest Kindergarten is a rich educational experience in which preschool children (3-6 years old) spend a substantial amount of time outdoors over repeated occasions. Dressed for the weather, the forest becomes the classroom and learning is experiential, hands-on and based on children's innate curiosity and interests.

The first Forest Kindergartens were founded in Sweden and Denmark in the 1950's, with Forest Kindergartens emerging in Germany in the 1960's. Now they are widespread and found everywhere in the world, as parents and educators are seeing the value in outdoor-based learning and nature connection at an early age.

Our program will begin March 14, 2018 and finish June 20, 2018.

Our day starts at 9:00-4:00 pm, though if you need to drop off earlier, please contact and we may accommodate you.

We are guided by  each season and draw themes, activities, stories and ways of being as we observe what is happening around us in nature’s cycles.

The Forest Kindergarten will inspire children to engage with the natural world in deeper and respectful ways, through introducing various core routines of nature connection. Although this sounds like serious business, and it is, we do so by activating their Child Passions, that is through inspiration games, songs, activities and stories.

 Songs, Stories and Creative Arts & Play
A cornerstone of the program are songs and stories, and child-led creative play. Music is a life-enhancing way to start and end the day. It is also a wonderful tool to use for harmonious transitions. We will sing to begin the day, before snack and lunch, and to end in the day.

Storytelling is the trickster Coyote’s way of passing on valuable information about the natural world. Each day will highlight a folktales, fairy tales and/or indigenous stories. Stories engage all of us in a special and powerful way, bringing our attention inwards and inspiring us in our everyday life.

Creative Play, is a crucial part of healthy child development, and the children will have plenty of time to imagine, co-create and enjoy non-commercial toys and nature’s gifts. Creative Arts, such as felting, drawing and painting, clay work will also complement the program.

The Natural Cycle of Learning:
We rely on a ‘natural cycle learning’ model, based on Jon Young’s work in nature connection and developed from over thirty years of experience in delivering nature programs and studying healthy indigenous cultures.

Young noted how indigenous groups did not have formal schools for their children, but processes in place to pass on vital place-based knowledge of plants, animals, weather and culture to their young. He called this the ‘invisible school’. Children learned without being aware that they were learning. They were also mentored through the art of questioning as opposed to being supplied information. Through stories and spending time in nature with aunts, uncles, and elders, as wells as other children and by themselves, they observed nature’s cycles and grew connected to the land and all living things.

The daily curriculum will rely on nature’s patterns and cycles, and activities will be prepared and developed. However, our programs follow the 50-50 Principle, which means although we plan 100% of the day, 50% is allotted for in-the-moment opportunities. This is crucial for children to fully engage with the natural world, themselves, each other and their mentors. Our goal as mentors is to deepen connections that are already forming in the child’s experience of the natural world, their relationships to others and self. We will be watching closely for moments where we can joyfully, peacefully and respectfully help them to stretch a little further into connection and activate their passion and learning, and support their growth. When children stop to investigate a new track, look closely at a caterpillar, and fully delve into their chosen activity, their sense of belonging blooms amidst a place of magic and wonder. This is what we aim to cultivate in the children and ourselves, through a natural cycle that inspires, activates, engages, and includes rests, sharing, reflection and integration.

LOCATION: ECO ECHO, WAKEFIELD, QC

COST: $40/day for Eco Echo members

$45/day non-members     

To become a member and support this local environmental campus' vision! Please contact Christopher Minnes at cminnes@ecoecho.ca