Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, the Kindergarten cohort had the opportunity to travel to Pacific Spirit Park once a month. The “Forest Friday” initiative was established last year as a means of providing children with the opportunity to connect with, and experience, their local environment.
The pedagogy supporting our visits is rooted in theories of place-based learning and environmental education, which prioritize opportunities for purposeful play in natural environments. Over the course of the year, the Kindergarten students were able to consolidate their knowledge through play, exploration and collaboration in an alternative learning environment.
The social, emotional and academic implications of our explorations were profound, and evident in the way that the children navigated their time in the forest. The children created bug habitats, made potions, created forest art, built dams and bridges, trudged through mud puddles, used “forest face paint” to decorate their cheeks, and persevered through some unfavourable weather.
We look forward to continued exploration in the 2019-2020 school year are are excited to introduce the next cohort of SJS Kindergarteners to the wonder and beauty of our local forests.