Outdoor Exploration Program

Forest and Nature School Program

HPSCCC & BSELC offer a forest school program integrated in with our everyday programming.  Children of all ages have planned mornings or full days that they will spend adventuring around the campground or other forested areas that they can walk too. Lorna Strome is a certified Forest School Practitioner, she leads all the exploration along with all the other educators. Parents will sign a blanket form for their child to participate in our forest school program. Parents will be given at least 24 hours notice that their child has forest school planned. Correspondence will be sent by email, text or Hi Mama.

Land Acknowledgement

Our organization would like to respectfully acknowledge the land which we are on, Treaty 6 Lands. We recognize all Indigenous Peoples who were here before me, who live with us now and the seven generations to come. These are the territories of the Plains Cree (Nehiyaw), Salteaux (Nahkawininiwak), Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, Denesuline and the home of the Metis/Mischif  Nations. As Indigenous people before us we strive to be a responsible steward of the land to respect cultures, ceremonies and traditions of all who call this home. With an open heart and mind to the past we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future.  Today, these lands continue to be a shared Territory and are occupied by many diverse peoples. We recognize a treaty is an inheritance, a responsibility, and a relationship.

What is Forest and Nature School?

Forest and Nature School is a land based, child led, play based emergent curriculum inspiring children to develop a sense of place and a connection to the land with regular and repeated visits. In this ‘place’ we are all learners, there are no experts. This sense of place and the relationship to land allows for inquiry, learning and risk taking. There is a new respect for nature instilling stewardship for the land while investigating the natural world. Nature will no longer be known in generic terms trees, birds and animals they will have names and descriptions, they will be recognizable, their habits and habitats will be examined and questioned. The emergent curriculum developing from the children’s inquiries and observations are vast and endless as a result of visiting the land on a regular and repeated basis. Children learn to trust themselves and their capabilities. They become resourceful, observant, and inventive discovering the risks they can take and be confident in trusting themselves and their environment while taking these risks.

The forest will be assessed daily by the facilitator before the children arrive. The facilitator will guide the children and other educators through the forest noting any major changes the educators and the children need to be aware of since the last visit.

Foraging

- Foraging will be done at the discretion and direction of the facilitator.

- Where there are wild fruit trees children will be allowed to pick and sample the fruit.

- All tree fruit will be identified before picking.

- There will be absolutely no mushroom picking without a seasoned expert.

- There will be no flower picking unless the flower is identified as not on the endangered species list.

Clothing

The optimum fabrics for clothing to be outdoors are made of natural materials. These fabrics are biodegradable, moisture wicking, breathable, durable, heat responsive and naturally mold resistant.

Examples of these fabrics would include linen, cotton, hemp, silk, cashmere, wool, jute, bamboo, mohair and leather.

The following examples of seasonal clothing are suggestions for a successful experience in the outdoors. The list may appear extensive however it is detailed. You do not need not to buy brand name items as many items can be found in thrift stores.

Winter

Layering is recommended for cold weather this would include an insulating layer next to the body allowing moisture to wick away from the body which insulates the body and is breathable. The mid layer allows an insulting air space between the body and the elements. The outer layer must be water proof, wind proof and breathable

- Base Layer - thermal shirt and pants (this is can be merino wool or cotton polyester pajamas this will wick moisture away from the body), extreme cold two base layers are recommended

- Mid Layer - fleece or wool shirt and pants (this adds an extra layer of warmth and an air space between the body and the outer layer)

- Outer Layer - warm snowsuit or jacket with hood and ski pants which is waterproof, wind proof and breathable

- Warm boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks and an airspace for warmth

- Two warm winter hats - hats must cover their ears and stay on their head

- Balaclava or neck warmer - fleece or wool no scarves due to risk of strangulation

- Two pair warm mittens - child size mittens (no gloves)

- Wool socks - wool wicks moisture away from the body

- Backpack - two extra changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), lip balm, water bottle and snack

 Early Spring

- Waterproof rain jacket - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof rain pants - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece pants to be worn as well on cooler days

OR

- Muddy buddy - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket and pants to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks on cooler days

- Light weight hat or sun hat

- Long sleeve shirt

- Long pants - no shorts

- Socks - two extra pair

- Bug jacket - optional

- Backpack - two extra changes seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), bug spray, sun screen, water bottle and snack

Late Spring

- Waterproof rain jacket - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket to be worn on as well cooler days

- Waterproof rain pants - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece pants to be worn on as well cooler days

OR

- Muddy buddy - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket and pants to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks on cooler days

- Light weight hat or wide brim sun hat

- Long sleeve shirt

- Long pants - no shorts

- Shoes - closed toe running shoes or hikers (no flip flops, sandals, daugs or any type of open shoe)

- Socks - long enough to pull over pant cuff

- Bug jacket - optional

- Backpack - two extra changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), bug spray, sunscreen and water bottle

 Summer

- Waterproof rain jacket - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof rain pants - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece pants to be worn as well on cooler days

OR

- Muddy buddy - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket and pants to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks on cooler days.

- Wide brim sun hat

- Long sleeve shirt - light and breathable (cotton, silk or hemp)

- Long pants - light and breathable (cotton, silk or hemp) - no shorts

- Shoes - close toe running shoes or hikers (no flip flops, sandals, daugs or any type of open shoe)

- Socks - two extra pair

- Bug jacket - optional

- Backpack - two extra changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), bug spray, sunscreen, water bottle and snack

 Early Fall

- Waterproof rain jacket - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof rain pants - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece pants to be worn as well on cooler days

OR

- Muddy buddy - a size larger to allow room for a light fleece jacket and pants to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks on cooler days.

- Light weight hat or wide brim sun hat

- Long sleeve shirt - preferably cotton or light weight breathable fabric

- Long pants - preferably cotton or light weight breathable fabric - no shorts

- Shoes - close toe running shoes or hikers (no flip flops, sandals, daugs or any type of open shoe)

- Socks - two extra pair

- Bug jacket - optional

- Backpack - two extra changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), bug spray, sunscreen, water bottle and snack

 Late Fall

- Waterproof rain jacket - a size larger to allow room for a warm fleece jacket to be worn as well

on cooler days

- Waterproof pants - a size larger to allow room for a heavy warm fleece jacket to be worn as

well on cooler days

OR

- Muddy buddy - a size larger to allow room for a warm fleece jacket and pants to be worn as well on cooler days

- Waterproof boots - a size larger to allow for extra wool socks on cooler days.

- Winter hat

- Long sleeve shirt

- Long pants

- Shoes - close toe running shoes or hikers (no flip flops, sandals, daugs or any type of open shoe)

- Socks - two extra pair

- Backpack - two extra changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (including socks and underwear), water bottle and snack

Please Label ALL Items

Risky (Adventurous) Play

Children want to be involved in play outdoors and all play involves risk. These risks involve pushing limits, testing themselves and leaving their comfort zone. During risky play the elements of danger can be actual or perceived. Risky play develops the whole child their health and well being, self esteem, confidence, social emotional self, physical literacy and cognitive skills. They will learn how be independent and manage risks and to be safe. Taking children to the forest may be considered risky but is the playground safer?

Risky play is considered to be:

Play at Great Heights- climbing trees, slopes, rocks

- Children may climb as high as they are tall.

- When climbing trees, the tree limbs must be the size of their legs to support their weight.

- Always have three points of contact with the element being scaled.

Play at High Speeds - sliding down a high hill, running, riding bike.

- Check the hill or snow bank for foreign obstacles before sliding.

- Ensure area used for running if free foreign obstacles or trip hazards.

- Ride bicycles on designated trails and with helmets.

Use of Dangerous Tools - manual drills, knives, axes, saws, hammers, mallets, hand planes

- Instruction will be given on appropriate tools use.

- Use of tools must be one on one supervision.

- Tools to be used in and not leave the designated area.

- No running with tools.

- Knives to be in sheath when not in use or being transported.

Dangerous Elements - matches, fire, cooking, water, cliffs, forests, rocky trails

- Match use and fire starting will be one on one supervision.

- Cooking with pie irons done around the campfire in groups of two or three with a supervisor for each child.

- Puddles no deeper than half the child’s boot height.

- Deep water will be avoided or a life jacket will be worn.

- Forests will be walked by educator prior to entering.

- Cliffs will be avoided or appropriate climbing gear and training prior to climbing.

- Rocky trails will be assessed prior to use.

 Rough and Tumble Play - wrestling, fencing with sticks, rolling in snow

- Wrestling will stop at the discretion of the supervisor or when a child says ‘stop’.

- Fencing will only occur under supervision and only hitting the opponents stick.

- Rolling in snow after the area has been inspected.

Impact Play - riding a bike or skate board, running, falling, flipping, crashing

- Ride a skate board or bike while wearing a helmet in designated areas.

- Inspect areas for obstacles before activities begin.

- Supervised tumbling, running, and jumping.

Being ‘Lost’- a chance to be alone, disappears or perceives to disappear

- Play hide and seek in designated areas of the forest.

- Supervise building of small shelters.

- Discovery of a private sit spot in the designated area.

Vicariously Play - observing peers and their experiences and learning through observation

- Ensure the child is observing the play at a safe distance.

- Stay with the child.

- Be aware of any changes in the child.

 

Children are to remain in the designated area outlined when taking the initial walk through the forest with the facilitator.