“There is a teaching in every part of creation. It is our task to find it, learn it, and apply it.”
- late elder Ken Goodwill (First Nations University of Canada, n.d.)
WHAT IS FOREST SCHOOL?
Forest School is an educational approach and program of delivery that has existed since the 1950’s. The focus is on inquiry-based learning in the outdoors. Learning outcomes are based on immersive explorations, experiences and inquiries that are emergent and span across many subjects and disciplines. Free-play and self-led activities are encouraged and fostered, and have been proven to enhance children’s creativity, cooperation and communication skills, as well as levels of self-confidence. One key aspect of Forest School that sets it apart from school-led field trips or other forms of environmental education programs, is having regular and repeated access to the same outdoor space throughout all seasons. This provides children the opportunity to build an on-going relationship with the land, the educator, and each other. A sense of familiarity and connection to the land leads to a level of engagement and willingness to learn that is hard to achieve in a classroom setting.
The mission is to inspire a lifelong passion for learning and to develop the tools to be self-directed throughout that journey.
"The very skilled educator knows when to offer an insight, a question, or materials to support a child's learning, but more importantly knows when to get out of the way."
- John Cree, UK Forest School Association
WHY FOREST SCHOOL?
Here are some of the proven benefits observed in children who attend Forest Schools around the world.
Confidence and Social Skills
Exploring freely outside —in a controlled environment — allows children to learn and expand comfort zones at their own pace. Children also get experience in both being self-sufficient and working as part of a team. Research has shown that outdoor play can help children develop self-confidence and positive identity formation (Russell et al., 2013).
Kids get the opportunity to not only observe nature with their eyes but to really engage with it with all of their senses. Sensory learning and play is important for child brain development and helps children understand their relationship to the world around them. (Atchlet, Strayer & Atchley, 2012)
Children in forest schools typically spend time in environments that provide varied and natural terrains and obstacles that challenge them to move their bodies in different ways than in indoor or urban settings. Whether it’s climbing over logs, running down narrow pathways, or crouching down to explore things on the ground, children improve their strength, balance and flexibility (O’Brien & Murray, 2007).
Creativity, Resilience, and Problem Solving
Children allowed to explore freely, in ever-changing natural environments, are going to have to get creative with play and use their problem-solving skills to deal with weather, natural barriers, and other factors of the outdoors. Children who spend time outdoors have been proven to have reduced stress levels and increased patience, self-discipline, capacity for attention, and recovery from mental fatigue (Russell et al., 2013, p.482).
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught."
- Baba Dioum, Senegalese forestry engineer
OTHER KEY DETAILS
- Students are ages 4 - 12.
- The teacher to student ratio is at least 1 teacher for every 6 students with constant supervision.
- The Big Dippers run from 9:00am – 3:30pm
- No bus transportation provided. Pick-up and drop-off must be organized by parents/guardians.
- Students are responsible for keeping up with regular school curriculum.
- Bagged lunches and snacks must be provided each day.
- An indoor heated space with washroom facilities and gear storage is available. However, students will be outside most of the day in all seasons and are expected to dress accordingly.
- NSFS may occasionally go on outings to nearby locations of interest.
- Your Forest School fees may be eligible for Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) Tax Credit. Follow this link for more details
“An environment-based education movement--at all levels of education--will help students realize that school isn't supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
We at Camp Celtic have always strived to have more engagement with the local community and expand beyond our typical Summer season. With all the buzz about the importance of outdoor education right now, it seemed like the time was right for camp to move forward with it’s Forest School dream. We believe that now, more than ever, our children need to be reconnected with the natural world and we want to help make that option available to children in our local community.
North Star Forest School is an alternative outdoor learning experience for your child beginning this October here at Camp Celtic. The outdoor education movement is sweeping across the country and Forest Schools are quickly popping up all over the Province. As we continue to help one another navigate through these ever-changing and uncertain times, we feel strongly about the importance of sharing the Forest School experience with families in Northern Bruce Peninsula and what better place to have a Forest School than right here at Camp Celtic? This all-day, all-outdoor, all-season educational program will be offered throughout the entire school year divided up into three, 12-week terms: Fall, Winter and Spring. NSFS is not meant to replace your child's normal education, but instead it is meant to be an additional form of learning to enhance your child's overall learning experience while in a natural setting. Our goal at North Star Forest is to get kids off of phones and computer screens, back outside and to embrace outdoor education during a crucial time in their development and learning.
MEET THE TEACHERS
Scott was born in Lion’s Head and is proud to call the Peninsula home. Of all the places he has travelled, nothing has quite compared to the beauty and diversity he has found here - the more you learn about your own backyard, the more special it becomes. Scott has worked at Camp Celtic leading nature hikes and canoe trips, teaching rock climbing, sailing, kayaking, and other sports to children for the past 20 years. Through teaching, he has had the privilege to learn so much from coworkers and campers alike. A kid at heart, he cannot wait to continue learning and share his enthusiasm for the outdoors with other local kids.
Carly’s kindness, patience and compassion are just a few things that make relationships with her students come easy. She has 10 years of experience in the classroom as a Health and Physical Education teacher in Dayton, Ohio. Carly spent every summer of her life cottaging with her family on the Peninsula that she now calls her home. After teaching at a few different Forest Schools in Ontario, she quickly realized that her values and teaching style fell right in line with the Forest School philosophy. She hopes to continue to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle in her students, only this time around it won’t be confined by four walls. She thinks every kid deserves the opportunity to find connection to the natural world, and hopes to be someone who guides them through that discovery.
Jenna was born and raised on the Peninsula and has been inspired and energized by its amazing landscapes and ecosystems all her life. She is a wildlife biologist and scientific illustrator with a background in natural and cultural heritage interpretation, traditional skills preservation and indigenous culture. Jenna loves to use art and craft as a way to connect to and learn about nature, plant life and how humans are part of this amazing ecosystem. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things in nature and cannot wait to share in some discoveries and adventures with the students at the forest school.
Pic and Bio coming soon!
“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”
- Jimmy Carter, former US president
Contact UsNorth Star Forest School is hosted by Camp Celtic
248 Stokes Bay Rd
Lion’s Head, ON