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
2018 Practitioners Course Offerings
Course #1 – Point Pelee National Park – April 19th-23rd, 2018
Registration is now closed.
Click here to be placed on our wait list. We will be in a touch if a spot opens.
This is a 5-day course taking place at Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, ON.
There will be accommodation on site at Point Pelee National Park.
- oTENTiks (canvas tents on platforms, see https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/
pn-np/on/pelee/activ/otentik for more information) have been reserved for Practitioners Course participants at Pt. Pelee National Park for the very reduced cost of $60/Otentik/night (thank you Pt. Pelee!).
- oTENTiks are equipped with 2 double beds and 1 queen bed, so could be shared among up to 6 participants (if comfortable sharing a bed), 3 participants for each to have their own bed, or reserved by just 1 participant, if they’d prefer not to share their accommodation (see the link above to get a better sense of how the beds work – it is hard to describe!)
- If you would like to stay in an oTENTik, please arrange your own groups (if desired), and reserve by calling Pt. Pelee National Park directly.
- Pt. Pelee can also take note of whether you would be willing to share with another participant you will meet upon arrival, if you’d like to share but don’t yet know anyone else attending the course.
- Payment will be due upon arrival, and Pt. Pelee will charge you the appropriate amount based on whether or not you are sharing an oTENTik.
- Reservations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.If all of the oTENTiks are full, you will be responsible for finding alternate accommodation during the course.
- You do not need to inform The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada/Forest School Canada of your accommodations plans; we will not be involved in the arrangement of your accommodations, beyond sending a contact list for you to use in planning your travel (for carpooling, for example) and accommodations.
- Please note that you will be responsible for any damage to the oTENTiks. The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada/Forest School Canada will not be held responsible.
- If you do choose to stay in an oTENTik, please remember that you will be responsible for your own dinners (with the exception of the cookout dinner) but a light breakfast (including coffee and tea), lunches, and snacks during course hours will be provided. Each oTENTik is also equipped with a BBQ, and there is potable water, bathrooms, and showers, near by. Please see the Pt. Pelee website for more information.
Course #2 – FortWhyte Alive – May 8th-12th, 2018
Registration opens on January 29th, 2018 at 10:00am EST.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with FortWhyte Alive in Winnipeg, MB.
Course #3 – Le Lion et La Souris – July 25th-29th, 2018
Registration opens on March 5, 2018 at 10:00am EST.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with Le Lion et la Souris in Montreal, QC.
*Please note, this course will be delivered primarily in English.
Course #4 – Through the Years Daycare and Community Centre- August 8th-12th, 2018
Registration opens on April 9th, 2018 at 10:00am EST.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with Through the Years Daycare and Community Centre in Hubbards, NS.
Course #5 – Kortright Centre for Conservation – September 27th – October 1st, 2018
Registration opens on May 7th, 2018 at 10:00am EST.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge, ON.
Course #6 – Ottawa Forest & Nature School – Modular Course – Sept.22-23, Oct.21-22, Dec.8-9, 2018
Registration opens on May 14th, 2018 at 10:00am EST.
This is a modular course (three weekends) taking place at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School in Ottawa, ON.
Course #7 – Flexpeditions – October 25th-29th, 2018
Registration opens on June 4th, 2018 at 12:00pm EST/9:00am PST.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with Flexpeditions in Revelstoke, BC.
Course #8 – Kamp Kiwanis – November 1st-5th, 2018
Registration opens on July 9th, 2018 at 12:00pm EST/9:00am PST.
*Please note that Kamp Kiwanis is located approximately 30 mins outside of Calgary. Accommodations at Kamp Kawanis will be available for an additional fee.
Forest and Nature School Practitioners CourseOne year to complete
$ 1400Per participantCourse fees are payable in instalments.
- 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
- all meals and snacks during course hours
- resource kit
How to Register
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.
Ottawa Forest & Nature School | May 12-13, 2018 | 9am-3pm | $250+ HST
Registration will open February 7th, 2018 at 10:00am.
Intro to Forest and Nature School Workshop2 days
$ 250per personBased on a 2 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.
Risky Play Workshop2 days
$ 250per 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.
Ottawa Forest & Nature School | April 14-15, 2018 | 9-5pm | $230 + HST
Registration now open!
Outdoor Play First Aid Coursetwo days
$ 230per person Pricing based on 10-16 people per group.
*includes a fully stocked outdoor play first aid kit
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
$ 500per group Pricing based on group of 25 people (max).
About the Practitioners Course
Become a certified Forest and Nature School Practitioner
This course will give educators the theoretical and practical tools they need to safely and effectively establish and run Forest and Nature School programs.
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.
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.
The course begins with a 5-day (or three weekend ‘Modular’) in person portion before launching into a one-year independent study which includes submission of assignments (10) and a 6-session self-directed practicum.
Terms and Conditions
Is this course right for you?
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.
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!
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.
No, the workshops are designed for anyone and everyone looking to support play and learning outdoors in their practice, from all sectors.
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.
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.”