The first time I heard about forest schools was 2006, I was fascinated
I was a Master's Student in UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. More specifically I was studying how the landscape itself could provide children's developmental needs.
We were studying 16 different childcare centres in Vancouver. What we found was that play areas that provided natural elements were the most successful ones for prosocial behaviour and language communication.
I discovered that in Scandanvia they had something called a Forest Kindergarten, an all outdoors form of preschool, where children spend the majority of their time outside in all weather. Finland, Norway and Sweden can hardly be classified as warm countries in the winter so I knew that Forest Schools were possible in Canada.
In 2008 at a Children and Nature Conference hosted at the Ottawa museum of Nature, I met and became friends with Marlene Power, who went on to become the lead figure of Forest Schools in Canada. Marlene has assisted hundreds of people to start their own forest schools. I met with Marlene last year and saw the operations of a forest school in Ottawa.
This fall, we're proud to be opening the first forest school in Hudson for children ages 3 to 5. We're about to embark on a magical journey into the woodlands with the children of Hudson. If you'd like to become part of our movement, please join us.
Cinematographs on this page and others are by Floris Kloet at https://livingstills.tumblr.com/