Forest school programs are offered through the City of Kitchener's Natural Areas Program. Some of our past offerings include:
- Weekly forest school programs for ages 3-12
- Leadership programs for ages 12-16
- After school drama group called "Thistletop Theatre"
- After school art group called "Painted Turtle Art Club"
- After school girls group called "Girls in Nature"
- After school nature group called "Nature Explorers"
- Weekly adult/child (5 and under) groups called "Tales and Trails" at various City of Kitchener park locations
- Free weekend activities for the community, through the City of Kitchener's Natural Areas Program, including guided walks, art events, pond exploration, learning from Indigenous educators, storytelling circles, writing by the pond, night hikes, dawn chorus, and many more!
- Programs for Kindergarten groups
- Programs for ESL groups
- Professional development workshops for teachers about outdoor learning
What is forest school?
Forest school is an experience that:
- creates connections. To nature, self, and others. Children connect to a piece of land on an ongoing basis, and learn to love and care for it.
- facilitates learner-centred, hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Forest school leaders help to "chase" questions that come naturally from kids' curiosity. They encourage inquisitiveness and provide "scaffolding" to raise learning to a new level.
- cultivates imagination, resiliency, resourcefulness, and play.
- educates the whole child. Their heads, hearts, hands; mind, body, spirit.
- mentors and builds community. A forest school program builds strong adult-child connections. Through consensus, group-building and cooperative learning experiences, we strive to build a sense of community and cohesion within the group.
- encourages risk taking. Children learn how to manage their own risks and challenge themselves by choice. This way of learning offers children the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- creates a space for self esteem, independence, and creativity to grow. Through a variety of activities, skill-building, and relationship-building, children grow in confidence.