Barrie Forest Kindergarten is a place where children, adults and families find their wildhood.
At Barrie Forest Kindergarten we believe in connecting children with their wildhood is important. We believe children not only learn through play but learn to work with others, find their sense of place in the natural world, to problem solve and discover and pursue interests through play. At Barrie Forest Kindergarten children we support this learning and exploration through a safe outdoor yes environment, materials and adult facilitation only when needed.
Though we do not pre plan learning activities or script the day we do carefully consider how to best use the environment to support and show trust in their learning and process through play. We have several camps that have been chosen for their unique ability to encourage the children in exploring their wildhood. We bring an ever evolving forest kindergarten kit that is tailored to their interests and needs and the structure to allow the children to make decisions about where they are, how they want to connect and how they want to pursue their interests in their play.
Forest kindergarten is for children 3-7 who thrive in an outdoor setting and with experiential learning. The Anishinabe believe that the first 7 years of a child’s life is “the good life” so we are open to any child at least 3 years of age up to 7. The children take part in a huge variety of activities – making shelters, tracking, our forest theatre, mud playdough and mud/plant “cooking and baking”, river walks and more. We place special emphasis on child led inquiry learning.
Forest kindergartens believe that the children in their care need to spend the preschool years learning best within a child centred approach to learning that is place based so that it focuses on their connection with others and with their environment. Place based education is rooted in heritage, environment and the culture of a place. (from COEO). We are also dedicated to building a relationship with the cultural heritage and culture of Simcoe country which is on traditional Anishinaabe territory. We are partnered with Anishinaabe community members and are working with an Anishinaabe organization to build a relationship to provide place based culture to the families in our Forest Kindergarten.
We believe that children learn best from each other in a mixed age group, the younger children learn from their older role models and older children meet the expectations of the younger children and have opportunities to be responsible and use their knowledge. There will be one spot open to a toddler under the age of 3. We also believe in small groups so teachers can effectively use child centred learning approaches and focus on social and communication skills between children.
Nurture Through Nature Playgroup
This playgroup is for babies (to age 3) and their caregiver. The day starts with a hike for caregivers who can wear or stroller their little one to main camp. We will then explore the connection very young children have with nature and strengthen our connection not only to the natural world through them but also strengthen our connection with them.
Inspired by Clair Warden’s nurture through nature child directed learning program the forest school teacher will facilitate learning following the children’s lead to explore our natural world. Every week we have special natural items for the toddlers to explore and play with.