On Thursday, Royal Roads signed a MOU with Sooke School District 62, opening the gates to the university grounds to the Nature Kindergarten students.
Modelled after European forest schools, the pilot project takes place at Sangster Elementary. Using the forests and lands of neighbouring Royal Roads University, the students spend the mornings outside rain or shine learning Kindergarten curriculum in the forests and among wildlife.
Many members of the RRU community helped make Nature Kindergarten a reality and continue to be involved. Hilary Leighton, director of Continuing Studies, and Nancy Wilkin, director of the Office of Sustainability, sit on the Nature Kindergarten steering committee. Nancy collaboratively wrote the MOU in consultation with the Office of Research and Hilary has developed a Continuing Studies professional development course, the Nature Kindergarten Experience. Professors Rick Kool and Charles Krusekopf were faculty supporters for the project. Head gardener Barrie Agar and arborist Ian Powell have recently participated by working with the school to determine the best places on campus to learn and explore.