Inspired by forest preschool models in Northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand, a two-year outdoor pilot with the goal of reconnecting children with nature began this week at Sangster Elementary School.
Nature Kindergarten students will spend 2.5 hours every morning exploring their local, natural environment on the forest trails at Royal Roads University and at the neighbouring lagoon and beaches under the tutelage of a kindergarten teacher, an early childhood educator and nature herself. Rain or shine, students go outside to learn in connection with nature nurturing their sense of wonder, place and belonging.
The pilot program will meet the needs of the Kindergarten curriculum as determined by the Ministry of Education while providing other enduring benefits such as: learning “outside of the box”, improved health and fitness, improved mental and emotional child development, growing awareness of the environment and stewardship, and an appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal ways of knowing.
Continuing Studies will be offering professional development to educators eager to learn about the background of this project, its development phase, and the firsthand experiences of the program's educators. Click here to find out more, or call the Continuing Studies office at ext 4801.
In the meantime, check out this video about the Nature Kindergarten program from Chek News: http://video.cheknews.ca/services/player/bcpid1530274581001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAA4mHNTzE~,ejlzBnGUUKauc2zn_kmUm9i-CLdp2qnb&bctid=1823125430001.