Not For Profit

Natural Pathways Learning Centre is a not-for-profit group of individuals who support the vision and mission of Natural Pathways Forest and Nature Programs in Windsor and Essex County. We are supportive and dedicated Forest School practitioners, educators, mentors, naturalists, artists, crafts people, homeschool families, and community members who have come together to provide ongoing mentorship and idea-sharing to grow the movement of Forest and Nature programs in the Windsor and Essex County area. We hope to plant the seeds of curiosity and connection in our communities to provide exciting opportunities for families, educators, and schools to connect to nature. The Natural Pathways Learning Centre will contribute to a publication, Natural Wanderings, that will serve as a resource to educators, children and families. 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada has the following principles for Forest and Nature Schools:

  • Takes place in a variety of settings including local forests, creeks, meadows, prairie grasses, mountains, shorelines, tundra, natural playgrounds, and outdoor classrooms.

  • Is a long-term process of regular and repeated sessions in the same natural space.

  • Supports children with qualified and knowledgeable educators to identify, co-manage, and navigate risk. Opportunities to experience risk are seen as an integral part of children's learning and healthy development.

  • Views children as innately competent, curious and capable learners.

  • Honours Aboriginal and Indigenous culture and history as well as traditional ways of learning and living off the land.

  • Supports children to develop an ethic of care towards nature and an understanding of themselves as part of the natural world.

  • Is grounded in and supports building engaged, healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities.

  • Aims to promote the holistic development of children and youth.

  • Allows for educators to navigate and balance their role as facilitator, guide, supporter, and co-learner rather than an expert.

  • Relies on loses, natural materials to support an open-ended, creative process.

  • Recognizes that the process is as valued as the outcome.

  • Led by a qualified Forest and Nature School Practitioner who is rooted in and committed to FNS pedagogical theory and practical skills.

  • Calls for educators to utilize place-based, emergent, inquiry-based, and experiential learning approaches toward connecting children to nature.

Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

  • Forest School takes place regularly, ideally at least every other week, with the same group of learners, over an extended period of time, if practicable encompassing the seasons.

  • A Forest School program has a structure which is based on the observations and collaborative work between learners and practitioners. This structure should clearly demonstrate progression of learning.

  • The initial sessions of any program establish physical and behavioural boundaries as well as making initial observations on which to base future program development.

Principle 1

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