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
2020 Practitioners Course Offerings
We will be announcing more 2020 courses soon! If you would like to join our mailing list, please scroll to the bottom of this page, where you will find an email sign-up.
Thinking about registering but unsure how COVID-19 might affect plans? Click here to read our response plan.
Cambridge Farm and Forest School – Cambridge, ON – Modular Course – February 22-23;
April 3-5, 2020 (Date postponed – stay tuned for update!)
This course is now full! Join the waitlist here.
This is a modular course (two weekends) taking place at and in partnership with the Cambridge Farm and Forest School in Cambridge, ON.
Dorothy Lake at Kirkland Lake, ON – June 1-5, 2020
*All spaces for this course are reserved for the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board.*
This is a 5-day course taking place at Dorothy Lake in Kirkland Lake, ON ( about 100km north of Timiskaming Shores, ON).
*If you are interested in attending this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be placed on the interest list.*
Algoma Forest and Nature School – St. Joseph Island, ON – August 4-8, 2020.
*Now accepting applications! Click here to apply.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with the Algoma Forest and Nature School on St. Joseph Island, ON.
*Thank you for your interest in the Algoma Forest School Canada Practitioners Course. At this time CNAC intends to proceed with the course in 2020. However, given the changing circumstances presented by COVID-19 we may need to postpone the course dates to later in the year.
Windhorse Farm – Wentzells Lake, NS – August 17-21, 2020.
*Now accepting applications! Click here to apply.
This is a 5-day, overnight course taking place at Windhorse Farm in Wentzells Lake, NS. *Course fees for this course are $2370.00 and include 4 nights of accommodation and all meals.*
*Thank you for your interest in the Windhorse Farm Practitioners Course. At this time CNAC intends to proceed with the course in 2020. However, given the changing circumstances presented by COVID-19 we may need to postpone the course dates to later in the year.
Common Digs – Calgary, AB – August 24-28, 2020
*Now accepting applications! Click here to apply.
This is a 5-day course taking place at and in partnership with Common Digs in Calgary, AB.
*Thank you for your interest in the Calgary Forest School Canada Practitioners Course. At this time CNAC intends to proceed with the course in 2020. However, given the changing circumstances presented by COVID-19 we may need to postpone the course dates to later in the year.
Oro-Medonte Forest School – Oro-Medonte, ON – Modular Course – October 2-4; November 14-15, 2020.
Registration opens on June 1, 2020 at 10:00am ET.
This is a 2 weekend modular course taking place at and in partnership with Oro-Medonte Forest School in Oro-Medonte, ON.
Forest and Nature School Practitioners CourseOne year to complete
$ 1650Per participantPayment plans are available upon request.
- 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
Interested in hosting a course?
Bring the Forest and Nature School Practitioners Course to your community! Apply now.
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.
Intro to Forest and Nature School Workshop2 days
$ 250per 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.
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.
Outdoor Play First Aid Coursetwo days
$ 230per person Pricing based on 10-16 people per group.
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 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?
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.”
Follow our adventures on Instagram!
More children in muddy boots, outside! We break down barriers to unstructured outdoor play and promote equitable access to nature for children.
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