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Forest School Canada is the flagship educational project of the Child and Nature Alliance. We provide evidence-based, practical, and inspiring professional learning opportunities for everyone interested in supporting the healthy development of children through play and learning outside.

Interested in working with children in nature?

We support individuals and organizations across sectors to incorporate nature-based play and learning into their work. Whether you are an educator interested in starting your own Forest and Nature School or the leader of an organization looking to equip your staff with tools to support risky play, we have a professional learning opportunity for you.

What we do:


  • Engage and support individuals and organizations who are already working in, or interested in working in nature-based programs.
  • Deliver high-quality professional learning that prioritizes the best interest of the child and those who support them, as well the Forest and Nature School movement at large in order to connect children to nature.
  • Collaboratively establish standards of best practice for this emerging field.
  • Build strong, coherent, and reputable Forest and Nature School communities of practice, both regionally and nationally.
  • Co-develop a national curriculum framework that will assist educators in practicing quality, safe, effective, and inclusive nature-based education that is rooted in strong pedagogical principles being translated into practice

2019 Practitioners Course Offerings

We will be announcing our 2020 courses here soon! We also welcome you to email us at admin@childnature.ca if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Course #1 – Andrew Fleck Children’s Services – Ottawa, ON – Modular Course – February 22-24; March 23-24, 2019

Private Course – All Spaces Reserved.

This is a modular course (two weekends) taking place at the Ottawa Forest and Nature School in Ottawa, Ontario.

Course #2 – Fresh Air Learning – Vancouver, BC – March 28 – April 1, 2019

This course is now full. 

This is a 5-day course taking place at the Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver in partnership with Fresh Air Learning.

Course #3 – Chickakoo Lake Camp – Parkland County, AB – April 29 – May 3, 2019

This course is now full.

This is a 5-day course taking place at Chickakoo Lake Camp in Parkland County, AB (35km northwest of Edmonton) in partnership with the Parkland School Division.

Course #4 – Bushkids NWT – Yellowknife, NWT – May 1-5, 2019

This course is now full.

*If internet connections pose a problem for you, please get in touch with us beforehand.*

This is a 5-day course taking place in Yellowknife, NWT  in partnership with Bushkids NWT.

Course #5 – Three Nations Education Group – Fredericton, NB – May 13-17, 2019

Private Course – All Spaces Reserved.

This is a 5-day course taking place in partnership with Three Nations Education Group in Fredericton, NB.

Course #6 – Le Lion et La Souris – Montreal, QC – May 30-June 3, 2019

Course is now full.

This is a 5-day course taking place at Le Champ des Possibles in Montreal, QC, in partnership with Le Lion et La Souris.

*Please note this course will be delivered primarily in English but support will be available in French. Practitioners are able to submit their coursework in French or English.

Course #7 – Boreal Forest School – Kenora, ON – June 3-7, 2019.

This course is now full.

This is a 5-day course taking place at Mount Evergreen Ski Area and in partnership with Boreal Forest School in Kenora, ON.

Course #8 – Elijah Smith Elementary School – Whitehorse, YK- June 16-20, 2019.

Private Course – All Spaces Reserved.

This is a 5-day course taking place at Elijah Smith Elementary School in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Course #9 – Wild Child PEI – Stratford, PEI – July 22-26, 2019

This course is now full.

This is a 5-day course taking place in Stratford, PEI in partnership with Wild Child PEI 

Course #10 – Nature Connect – Kitchener, ON – August 22-26, 2019

This course is now full.

This is a 5-day course taking place at the Huron Natural Area in Kitchener, ON in partnership with Nature Connect.

Course #11 – MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre – Ottawa, ON – Modular Course –  October 26-27; December 6-8, 2019

This course is now full.

This is a modular course (two weekends) taking place at and in partnership with the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre in Ottawa, ON.

Course #12 – Scanlon Creek Conservation Area- Bradford, ON – Modular Course –  October 26-27; November 23-24; December 7, 2019

**Please note** There is a daily parking fee of $6 per day at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area. These parking fees are the responsibility of the participant and are NOT included in the course fees.

This is a modular course (three weekends) hosted in partnership with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.

Course #13 – École élémentaire Rivière-Rideau – Kemptville, ON – Modular Course –  October 19-20; November 15-17, 2019

Private Course – All Spaces Reserved.

This is a French modular course (two weekends) hosted in partnership with CEPEO.

Forest and Nature School Practitioners CourseOne year to complete

$ 1500

Per participantCourse fees are payable in instalments.

What’s included:

  • 5 day intensive in-person course with a team of experienced facilitators
  • introduction to both regional and national communities of practice
  • 1 year of online support
  • daily lunch and coffee and tea
  • resource kit

How to Register

2019 Workshops

We will post workshop offerings as they become available. Please get in touch with us if you would like to book a workshop for your organization.

Introduction to Forest and Nature School


This is an outdoor, experiential workshop for everyone interested in learning more about the theory and practice of Forest and Nature School (FNS). This workshop is especially recommended for those who want to learn more about FNS prior to committing to our year-long Practitioners Course. Participants will learn about play-based learning and how to support risky play, specifically, emergent curriculum and inquiry-driven learning, as well as planning and delivery of FNS programs. Participants will leave the workshop with a broad understanding of FNS theory and practice, and, if they are educators, a sense of how they could interweave FNS into their current teaching practice.


Upcoming Dates:

June 2-3, 2019 – Horace Allen Elementary School, Coleman, AB. REGISTRATION CLOSED. Please click here to be placed on the wait list.

June 22-23, 2019 – Discovery Child Care Centre, Barrie, ON. REGISTRATION CLOSED. Please click here to be placed on the wait list.


Intro to Forest and Nature School Workshop2 days

$ 250

per personBased on a two day workshop.

Risky Play Workshop


This outdoor, experiential workshop explores the importance of risky play in childhood development, learning, and health. Participants will examine play types in both educational and recreational settings, and will explore how to support children engaging in risky play while still fulfilling the duty of care, for example, as an educator and/or care provider. Participants will also learn how to develop and conduct risk/benefit assessments, how to include children in the assessment and management of risk, and will examine how all of these risk assessments can be done within their own specific educational or recreational settings.

Upcoming Dates:

June 8-9, 2019 – Ottawa Forest and Nature School, Ottawa, ON.

Future dates and locations TBD

Risky Play Workshop2 days

$ 250

per personBased on a two day workshop.

Outdoor Play First Aid


This will be a comprehensive two-day (16 hour) first aid course, equivalent to the Red Cross’ Standard First Aid Certification, with the added value of having been expressly designed by the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada for those who support children and families in outdoor play in near-urban settings. During this course we will learn life-saving first aid skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking protocol, anaphylaxis protocol, AND focus on factors that affect outdoor play such a poisonous flora and fauna (i.e. poison ivy and ticks), injury prevention information and skills, and childhood injuries and illnesses. There will be a heavy emphasis on practical skills, practice, and scenarios, all rooted in the context of outdoor play. This course includes the most up-to-date and evidence-based first aid and CPR guidelines, and meets legislation requirements for provincial/territorial early childhood education and day care worker safety training. Participants will be issued a Red Cross Standard First Aid certification card upon completion.

Upcoming Dates:

November 16-17, 2019 (9am-5pm each day) – Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Forest and Nature School – This course is now full! Please email admin@childnature.ca to be added to the waitlist.

Outdoor Play First Aid Coursetwo days

$ 230

per person Pricing based on 10-16 people per group.

Study Tour


Come and tour the Ottawa Forest and Nature School with us! This is a three-hour, highly interactive tour that includes the chance to observe the children at play in our programs, explore our site, and ask unlimited questions of an experienced Forest and Nature School educator. Tours take place entirely outdoors in all weather, and unfold in keeping with the Forest and Nature School ethos – in an emergent, inquiry-driven, and learner-directed way.

Study Tour at Ottawa Forest & Nature School3 hours

$ 500

per group Pricing based on group of 25 people (max).

About the Practitioners Course

Become a certified Forest and Nature School Practitioner

What is the purpose of the Practitioners Course?

This course will give educators the theoretical and practical tools they need to safely and effectively establish and run Forest and Nature School programs.

What is covered?

Themes to be covered include the theoretical underpinnings of FNS, practical skills, and establishment and delivery. There is a strong emphasis in this course on self-directed, experiential, and inquiry-driven outdoor learning.

What to expect

The course includes an intensive, in-person portion (either 5 consecutive days or 3 weekends) where all educators come together to facilitate the formation of a community of practice. The in-person part of the course is physically and mentally engaging, and is meant to be a transformative and immersive nature-based experience.

Following the in-person part of the course, educators return home to launch into course work, which includes self-directed reading, completing assignments, and delivering six practice Forest and Nature School sessions to a student group. During this time, educators will be assessed to ensure they are meeting all course assessment criteria and following best practices in the Forest and Nature School field.

All course work after (or in between, in the “modular” format) the in-person portion of the course is done on an online educational platform, so a proficiency in using the internet and basic computer skills are helpful. To complete the course, educators should plan to commit 3-5 hours per week to read, write, engage online with other educators, and to complete course work.

How long does the course take to complete?

The course begins with a 5-day (or three weekend ‘Modular’) in person portion before launching into a one-year independent study which includes the submission of 6 assignments and a 6 self-directed practicum sessions. It takes on average 3-5 hours course per week to complete the course work within the one year time frame, although this depends on individual work habits. The course is self-directed and so individuals are able to work at their own pace and self-determine how much time they require for each assignment.

Terms and Conditions

Is this course right for you?

Read more

Upon registering for the course, practitioners agree that:

      • They have the necessary prerequisites for the course (or prior approval from FSC).
      • Barring unexpected circumstances, they will attend and complete all course elements and requirements within the one-year timeframe (i.e., if the course begins in May 2017, all coursework must be submitted by the end of May, 2018).
      • They understand that assessment of their coursework will take place during the one-year period of the course. If the student is unable to run their Forest School Program within the one-year period, arrangements will need to be made with course facilitators ahead of time.
      • If they do not complete the course they will not be entitled to reimbursement of any costs.
      • They will ensure that the necessary insurance coverage, vulnerable sector police check, and First Aid training are in place before running a Forest and Nature School program. Please note: First Aid training is not included in the Practitioners Course, and must be acquired in order to complete the Practitioners Course and receive certification.
      • They know of no medical reasons why they should not participate in any of the activities listed below:
          • Use of tools, shelter building and physically demanding team building activities (walking on uneven ground)
          • Outdoor, active play in nature with young children
          • Fire lighting and camp fire cooking
      • They agree not to make any unauthorized use of the intellectual property and proprietary information of Forest School Canada/Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. Unauthorized use of the intellectual property and proprietary information includes but is not limited to hosting and/or facilitating forest and nature school training events that would make use of the intellectual property and proprietary information of Forest School Canada/Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.
      • They understand that this is not a “train the trainer” course and that at no point during or after the course are they to represent themselves as a trainer or facilitator of Forest School Canada/Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.
      • Forest School Canada (FSC) has the right to cancel the training course due to insufficient registration. Cancellation will be no later than four weeks prior to the start of the course. In this case, the deposit will be refunded or put towards another course,  at the discretion of the registrant.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Before you register for this course, please weigh very carefully whether you are truly able to make the time and financial commitment it requires.

In the event that you need to withdraw from the course due to unforeseen circumstances, Forest School Canada/The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada will assess your request up to two weeks before the start date of your course. We will assess requests on a case-by-case basis, and, if possible, we will issue you a refund for all payment received, less the $500 non-refundable deposit.

We regret that we are unable to assess requests and issue refunds within two weeks of the start date of your course.

About our Workshops

Incorporate nature-based play and learning into your practice.

What is the difference between the Workshops and the Practitioners Course?

Each of our workshops offers something different, be it a taste of Forest and Nature School or a deep dive into supporting opportunities for risk-taking in children’s play. The workshops are ideal for anyone and everyone looking to support play and learning in the outdoors, across sectors.

The Practitioners Course is intended for educators or those with similar backgrounds who are interested in starting their Forest and Nature School programs, or in incorporating elements of the philosophy into their practice. The Course is a significant, year-long commitment, while the workshops are less so!

Are the workshops for individuals or groups?

Both! We offer workshops at our headquarters, the Ottawa Forest and Nature School, throughout the year. Any interested individuals can register. We also work with organizations to tailor or workshops to meet your needs, in a location convenient for you.

Are there prerequisites for the workshops?

No, the workshops are designed for anyone and everyone looking to support play and learning outdoors in their practice, from all sectors.

There are no dates listed above. When is the next workshop and how can I register?

Workshop dates will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check back frequently! If you are interested in booking a workshop for your group, please get in touch with us to find a convenient time and location for you.

Where do you offer the workshops?

We often host workshops at our headquarters at the Ottawa Forest and Nature School, but we can facilitate workshops across the country. Please get in touch with us for more information.


“I can't explain the wonderful experience that this team provided and inspired. They were amazing. I feel that you as a whole team have developed a fantastic atmosphere and learning environment for both children and adults. I am going to do my best to share your inspiration and belief of the importance of nature and the impact that it has in all of our lives.”

“Most of all, the course so far has made me question my certainties and think differently about how we invite children to engage with the natural world. Every day, I feel like I am deconstructing my thinking based on the information offered. I am so excited for this next adventure and am hopeful that I will be able to make some changes in my daily practice.”

“I think one of the most important skills I learned and sharpened during the course was the ability to empower young people. ”

“The most meaningful element of the workshops were the highlighting of the innate abilities that most of us already possess and demonstrate on a subconscious level. The facilitators did a masterful job of bringing those skills to the surface within us and raising our level of self awareness.”

“I learned a tremendous amount ranging from pure skills to collaborative approaches, to materials and ideas that can be used in the class. All of which I have applied in my own Forest School classroom with tremendous results.”

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