Play-based learning in nature

Forest school is an immersive experience: children spend their time outdoors learning directly in and from their natural surroundings through play and exploration. Experiences are child-centred, emergent and inquiry-based, with participants given the opportunity to explore at their own pace. Through repeated exposure to the environment, by witnessing seasonal cycles firsthand, and through active, engaged learning, students gain a lifelong appreciation for the natural world. Nature-based play, with it's varied and changing stimuli, allows children to rely on their senses to understand the world around them, and encourages the development of many skills that will help children as they move forward in school and life.

Wild Wonder Forest School programs

The Wild Wonder Forest School Pilot Program was offered at Beech Hill Park in Sackville, NB, June-July 2017 for children aged 3-5. Our fall Forest School preschool program is based in Amherst, NS, and will run through December 2017. We have programs in the planning stages for 2018 and will provide details and inform families once registration is open. If you are interested in enrolling your child in a Wild Wonder Forest School program, please keep up-to-date by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook.


Scroll through some of the photos from the Wild Wonder Pilot Program held at Beech Hill Park in the summer of 2017. We had a wonderful time!


At Forest school

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing

The unwritten rule of forest school is to embrace the unexpected. The curriculum changes regularly; it is inspired the natural world, the seasons and children's interests. The forest school site is always evolving as new animals move through and the landscape responds to the weather. Of course, the weather can be unpredictable so it's best to be prepared with an extra change of clothes. Activities may include bird-watching, climbing trees, collecting treasures like sticks or stones (also known as "loose parts"), examining animal tracks, undertaking art projects, and do-it-yourself endeavours such as creating pulley systems and forts.

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There’s also lots of time for individual exploration and play. Logs quickly transform into boats, and sticks into brooms. Plans can change quickly if a child stumbles on an interesting discovery like rabbit tracks or an iced-over puddle. Pre-literacy skills are developed through lots of discussion, story-telling and song. Creativity and problem-solving skills, along with coordination and balance, are just a few of the skills enhanced through nature play.

There are many articles that sing the praises of forest schools and nature play. We feature some of them on our resources page for anyone interested in reading more.