~When we spend time in nature, observing and appreciating the natural beauty and living organisms all around us, we are gently energized. We feel better. Our world grows. We find gratitude in our connection. We are a part of nature.~
The infinite benefits of Forest School nature based programs
We are a welcoming community and strive to create a culture where everyone feels seen and heard. We accept and appreciate people of all ethnicities, genders, abilities, and religious affiliations.
Though there are many influencing factors on children’s learning and behaviors, the play environment has a huge role on how children learn, absorb and grow. The benefits from outdoor learning and play are infinite. Adults can provide all of the equipment in the world for kids (playground equipment, toys, tech, materials to make things, structures and resources to build things), but it is amazing what nature, leaves, trees, water, dirt, flowers, and sticks provide by themselves! Nature equips kiddos with hours of imagination, problem solving competencies, social skills and so much more. Tree’s alone and the resources they provide are regenerative - they keep growing and as long as the wood is managed sustainably, there is potential for a never-ending supplies. Leaves, logs and sticks (or swords, wants, arrows, fishing rods - you get the point!) ~ referenced from Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators5, David Sobel…
Supported risk-taking: Unlike an indoor settings, the great outdoors does not seek control, constraint, or provide strict schedules for children. The forest shakes things up. When any of us (from all ages) are exposed to nature and the outdoors, we are provided so many wonderful and natural challenges that we must overcome. There is unpredictability and the landscape can change in any given moment. A windstorm may have swept through the evening prior, causing branches to be in the path. The river may have been flowing through a part of the trail last week, but is completely dried up this week! Perhaps wildflowers were once used to mark the homebase area, but were then eaten by a deer. A lovely pile of scat could be right in the middle of a fort “mansion.” A muddy puddle could be in the way of our nature journaling spots and children have to come up with so many fun solutions. We encourage children to problem-solve, be aware of their surroundings and be mindful of changes throughout each session. We like to ask questions versus give the answer right away. “Why do YOU think that happened with the land?” “Forest friends! What do we lose out of our bodies when we are running around playing and what do we need to drink more of to replenish it?” “Water!” “Why do you think the stream was here yesterday and completely gone today?” “Why is that trunk different in color?”
Immunity: We think of this category as “Earth magic”! When they say “nature heals”, we take this seriously. Just imagine for a moment: you’re outside, your skin cells are synthesizing vitamin D and you decide to pluck a tiny weed from the soil. You rub the newly found microbiome in your hands, appreciating the biodiversity that came along with the pluck. Through this small action, you have just introduced, at very least, bacteria, fungi, and helpful microbes to your skin, which can then slowly repopulate your gut. In the book, Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System, co-author Dr. Jack Gilbert says that exposing children to the everyday microbes found outside in nature—including dirt—can help a child develop a strong, healthy immune system. Through this interaction, the body is able to distinguate threats from non-threats.
Nutrition: To successfully instill healthy living habits in children, they must see it in various places. Nutrition is a foundational layer to a long and healthy life. We are blessed to be able to provide a fresh and organic vegetable spread at every session. We hope to inspire children to eat more of these colorful goodies. Through games, songs, and crafts children can explore new ways to learn about nature’s bountiful gifts.