About Us

All about Forest School, Pedagogy and Guiding Principals.

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Principles

Forest School Principles and Criteria for Good Practice

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What to Expect

What do we actually do at a Forest School?

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Registration

I'm interested! Tuition information, registration, and next steps.

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Welcome to Natural Pathways Forest and Nature School

Our Mission Statement

Our mission at Natural Pathways Forest and Nature School is to provide innovative, inspired and transformational outdoor experiences for children through play and exploration in the local woodlands of Windsor and Essex County, Ontario. Our mission is also to nurture generations of ecologically aware and academically well-rounded individuals, who will have the knowledge, values and skills needed to make environmentally and socially conscious decisions on a local, national and global scale. We will inspire individuals to become ambassadors for nature and champions for well-being. We will support individuals in harnessing their potential and passion for being stewards of our natural world.

Programs

We have a variety of programs to choose from: programs for children, programs that include parents, and field trips for school groups and home school groups.  

Fall 2017 Programs Now Available for Registration!!

See program options below

PD days

Looking for a fun, stimulating, and creative childcare option for PD Days? Look no further. We are offering full day programs on GECDSB PD Days over the course of the year. Register now for one or all available PD Days – that way you don’t have to worry about each one as they come, we can build a closer relationship with your children, and they can build a meaningful relationship with the land.

Ages: Children aged 4 to 10 years
Available dates 2017/18:   September 22, November 17, January 19, February 16, March 23, April 27 
Fees: $40/day

Half-day Forest School

Location: Camp Cedarwin

Calling all kids to run like the wind to Camp Cedarwin in beautiful Essex County, the site of Natural Pathways Forest and Nature School, where we will fill our days hunting for the treasures of the woods, building forts, tracking animals, telling stories and so much more. Are you an explorer? We've been waiting for you to help us discover the wonders of our site! Are you a cartographer, a local historian, a budding naturalist? We need your help to chart our paths, uncover the stories the land holds, and unlock the secrets of the rocks and trees and the creatures who live among them.

The Details
  • Ages 6 – 10 years
  • Days: Fridays
  • Times: 12:30 – 3:00 pm
  • Term: Session 1: Sept. 15 - Oct. 20
  • Term: Session 2: Oct. 27 - Dec 1
  • Fees: $25 per day ($150 per session)
  • Ages 4 - 6 years
  • Days: Fridays
  • Times: 9:30 - 12:00 pm
  • Term: Session 1: Sept. 15 - Oct. 20
  • Term: Session 2: Oct. 27 - Dec 1
  • Fees: $25 per day ($150 per session)
  • Register Today!

    Forest Monday Explorers

    Location: To Be Announced

    With a unique focus each week, our small group of parents and children will explore the forest using all our senses and incorporating music, movement, yoga, traditional woodland crafts, storytelling and more.  This program is specially designed to introduce small children and their care givers to the beauty of the forest. Together we will build coordination and confidence, creativity and resilience by walking trails, scrambling up rocks and balancing on logs. Through our explorations we will use our 'deer ears' and our 'owl eyes', finding evidence of forest creatures. We will build our forest community sharing stories, snacks, affection and wonder in the beautiful forests in our community.

    The Details
    • Ages 2.5 – 5 years
    • Days: Monday afternoon
    • Times: 12:30 - 3:00
    • Term: Session 1: Sept. 11 - Oct. 23
    • Term: Session 2: Oct. 30 - Dec. 4
    • Fees: $25 per day ($150 per session)

    Register Today!

    Half-day Forest Kindergarten

    Location: Camp Cedarwin

    This half-day kindergarten program is distinguished by its commitment to total nature immersion, interest-led flow learning, emergent curriculum, place-based focus, inquiry-based teaching style and authentic play. Nature Immersion is defined as 'unstructured free time in nature resulting in an intimate, deep and personal connection to the natural world'.

    The Details
    • Ages 4 – 7 years
    • Days: Tuesday afternoons
    • Times: 12:30 – 3:00 pm
    • Term: Session 1: Sept 12 - Oct. 17
    • Term: Session 2: Oct. 24 - Nov. 28
    • Fees: $25 per day ($150 per session)

    Register Today!

    Drop In Family Programs

    Parent and Child Nature Mornings at Camp Cedarwin

    We invite all parents and caregivers with young children to the forest at Camp Cedarwin and Camp Bryerswood to connect with the outdoors and introduce your child to its gifts in the security of a group. We encourage you to foster a life-long relationship between your child and the natural world. Meet like-minded parents and caregivers, and find support and community as we walk the trails and return to the cabin and/or fire circle to play, rest, feed our babies, and share healthy snacks before heading back out into the world. This will be a drop-in group

    • Days: Family drop in on Tuesdays at Camp Cedarwin 9:30 - 11:30. No pre-registration necessary. Fall session dates: Sept 12 - Dec. 19 Please check our Facebook page for regular updates on dates, times and locations
    • Fees: $10 per family

    Register Today!

    School Groups

    School Groups are invited to join us at Camp Cedarwin, Camp Bryerswood or Holiday Beach

    Natural Pathways Forest School provides outdoor nature connection opportunities to school groups. Students visit the same woodland site, located in the Windsor and Essex County area, in all but the most extreme weather conditions on a weekly basis. At Forest School, we subscribe to the old adage that there is no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing. Forest School in Canada takes place in four seasons: learning how to dress appropriately for outdoor adventures is part of the experience. Each Forest School program is tailored to meet the needs of the students within the group and is continuously developed as the participants grow in confidence, skill, and understanding. Forest School is ideally suited for preschool, Junior and Senior Kindergarten and home school groups. Cooperatively designed programs are also offered to elementary grade levels as well. Programs are currently being offered at Camp Cedarwin and Camp Bryerswood. Please contact us for the fee schedule based on your group's requirements.

    Book a Field Trip with your School Group Today!


    Philosophy and Program Statement
    • Our program at Natural Pathways Forest and Nature School is a reflection of our philosophy; we support the individual's natural sense of curiosity through nurturing each individual's learning style, abilities and temperament. We nurture authentic relationships in our learning community recognizing children as competent, capable, curious, rich in potential and capable of constructing knowledge.
    • We are committed to creating an atmosphere of mutual respect for each other, our community in Windsor and Essex County, our environment, and the world around us. Relationship building is an integral part of our practices. Authentic, caring relationships are the foundation of our program; we cultivate a sense of belonging among the children, adults and the learning community with an emphasis on positive communication, self-regulation, and problem solving.
    • Our learning environment is a reflection of our image of the child as competent, capable and rich in potential. Our outdoor environment in Windsor and Essex County is rich in a natural materials and accessible tools/equipment that promotes exploration, discovery and divergent thinking. Our programs will reveal the authentic respectful approach to the learning process through reflecting each individual's interests and input. We support and nurture our ecological identity through a wide variety of opportunities for scientific discovery. Children explore the natural rhythm of the seasons in a respectful and flexible time schedule. Time is necessary for deep exploration and understanding of the cyclical systems in nature such as plant and animal life cycles. Our Forest and Nature School Program provides space based and play based emergent opportunities for discovery and connects us to the ancient wisdom of Canada's First Nations.
    • We promote health, safety, nutrition, and well being through our close connections to our natural environment. Our well being is nurtured by the ever changing weather and seasons, fresh air, food, science, and stress free natural surroundings. The natural world enhances opportunities for discovery and nurtures curiosity. Hands-on exploration and concrete experiences encourage us to build awareness about safety and safe risk management. Our seasonal food and outdoor practices inform us about healthy living through awareness of where our food comes from.
    • Authentic relationships are the substance of our learning community. We provide an environment that engages children in meaningful explorations, fosters active and creative play, and inquiry-based learning. Our emergent and child initiated curriculum provides many opportunities for the children to explore relationships. Our carefully designed schedule provides flexibility and opportunities for exploration, discovery, and expression.
    • Our research-based Constructivist approach to learning honours children's innate ability to construct knowledge from their hands-on experiences. Thus we provide an environment that encourages exploration, play, inquiry, and opportunities to build on previous learning. As a learning community we support children's explorations, experiments and discoveries by providing age appropriate provocations based on our observations of the inquiries unfolding during the play process. We capitalize on the rich diverse social, cultural and linguistic gifts that each individual bring to the group.
    • We cherish the diversity in learning styles and strive to create diverse, positive learning environments that meet each child's individual abilities. We understand the uniqueness of each child and design the learning environment with opportunities for active and quiet explorations. Through embracing the process of observing, listening and communicating with respect, we create opportunities for strong relationships to form. We nurture a strong sense of belonging with a natural rhythm and routine each day
    • Through Forest and Nature School Canada's ethos we research, observe, document and support the various types of play emerging in our environment such as symbolic, exploratory, dramatic, social, communication, creative, deep, fantasy, imaginative, locomotor, mastery, recapitulative, rough and tumble, and quiet meditative play. With our meditative 'sit spot' practice we provide time for quiet, mindful self-reflection and expression.
    • Through our strong professional commitment to foster engagement in our learning processes we invite families and the community to join in our programs. We strive to empower parents to participate as partners in all aspects of our program as experts on their children and the source of the most powerful influence on the child's learning, development, health and well-being.
    • We cherish our community relationships with local conservation groups, local colleges and universities, high schools, Scouts Canada, Forest and Nature School Canada, and other government-sponsored programs. Professional development opportunities are our passion and we strive to broaden our horizons continually. We embrace life-long learning for our staff as well as our colleagues in the community.
    • We seek to develop professional partnerships with like-minded organizations and are passionate about building bridges to create a community of best practices for learning. As professionals we are committed to the process of collaborative inquiry through sharing critical reflections, pedagogical documentation and our life long professional inquiry with the community. We are committed to the process of critical reflection, learning and growth as the basis of high-quality programs that continuously improve supported by emerging research.