Foley Mountain launching new Family Forest School this fall
WESTPORT, July 14, 2023 – A new weekly Forest School program will cater to kids ages 2 to 5 and their caregivers this September.
The parent-assisted program will run every Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:30 for 12 weeks, beginning Sept. 12.
“It’s so important to let young kids engage in risky play, explore a diverse landscape, develop their motor skills and of course receive all the wonderful benefits from being outside,” said Foley Mountain site supervisor Rebecca Whitman. “The sooner we can help children build connections to the land and nature, the better off we’ll all be.”
The Forest School model allows students to spend most of their time outside, playing and learning through experiential, hands-on activities that promote curiosity in an active and authentic learning environment. Foley Mountain has offered Forest School programs since 2018.
“We wanted to serve younger children, so we went with this parent-assisted model that serves a wider range of families,” Whitman said. Caregivers can help younger kids in the bathroom and help monitor risky play. It’s a great way to introduce younger kids to the Forest School environment – and the caregivers appreciate it, too.
“Especially when they’re little, they want to share this experience with their kids,” Whitman said.
Each week, the two-hour program will begin with free play prompts like mud kitchens, planks and boards, creature exploration, nature-based art, shelter building and seasonal activities. Then the group will gather for a snack and story – usually around the campfire – and decide on the day’s big adventure in the forest.
Whitman said this weekly program will differ from Foley’s popular monthly drop-ins, since the same group will come together each week throughout the season, fostering a sense of community and encouraging independence and social learning.
“It’s so rich for all those developmental opportunities,” Whitman said.
Registration is now open for the fall session at a cost of $216 plus HST. Families with slightly older or younger siblings are welcome to have them tag along.
Fall school-age and kinder Forest School programs are also open for registration. The half-day kinder program will run on Wednesdays starting Sept. 13 and the full and half-day programs for kids ages 6 to 12 will run on Thursdays beginning Sept. 14.
Visit https://www.rvca.ca/outdoor-education/foley-mountain-ca/foley-mountain-forest-scool to learn more and register.