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What is Forest School?

The Truro Forest School is a long-term nature connection process that centres the child-at-play in a natural setting. Our sessions take place on a regular and repeating basis, in the same outdoor space, over an extended period of time. We focus on small child-to-adult ratios, using loose, natural materials to support children in developing a relationship with their outdoor space. This relationship supports holistic development with marked benefits in physical health, confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.

This relationship is reciprocal, so the benefits of Forest School become benefits for the Land as well! Children develop compassion, respect and awe for Indigenous communities and the natural world, growing to become individuals who advocate for the preservation and sustainability of our shared natural spaces. We aim to have a global impact by inspiring and encouraging a generation of land stewards, scientists, activists, artists and thinkers.

The well-being of each child is the foundation of Forest School. We provide guidance and facilitation to individuals based on their unique social, emotional and physical needs. We believe that children are inherently curious about the world, and we nurture this curiosity by guiding them in their own experiential learning that can only be had in nature.

Child-led play (including responsible risky play) is an integral part of The Truro Forest School, with outdoor skills and knowledge providing the foundation of learning. We have fun, get dirty, experiment, explore, create, connect, learn, and grow!

Our Foundational Pillars

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Connection

At the Truro Forest School we build connections with the Land, with each other, with the broader community, and with ourselves. This connection fosters a deep sense of belonging, responsibility and admiration for the natural world.

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Discovery

Through play-based, inquiry-driven experiential learning, we discover the magic that a reciprocal relationship with nature can bring! We discover our capabilities, interests and potential. These discoveries have a lasting impact that inspire us for a lifetime.

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Growth

There are endless opportunities for growth in Forest School! From learning to take responsible risks, to taking ownership of our place in the world, to having formative experiences, we expand our horizons and grow our unique character.

Forest School Principals

As defined by the principals and criteria set by the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and The Forest School Association, forest school:

1) Takes place in any outdoor space, including urban greenspace, playgrounds, forests, creeks, prairies, mountains, shoreline, and tundra.

2) Is a sustained process of regular and repeated sessions in the same outdoor space, supporting children to develop a reciprocal relationship with the Land, and an understanding of themselves as a part of the natural world.

3) Views children and youth as innately competent, curious, and capable learners.

4) Is led by educators who share power with learners through play-based, emergent, and inquiry-driven teaching and learning methods.

5) Values children’s play — self-directed, freely chosen, intrinsically motivated — in and of itself. FNS programs provide adequate time and space for children and youth to dive deeply into their play.

6) Views risky play as an integral part of children’s learning and healthy development, and is facilitated by knowledgeable, qualified educators who support children and youth to co-manage risk.

7) Relies on loose, natural materials to support open-ended, creative play and learning.

8) Values the process as much as the outcome.

9) Prioritizes building reciprocal relationships with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, who have been learning from this Land since time immemorial.

10) Practices, policies, and programming reflect and prioritize the building of engaged, healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities through consideration of access and equity in our decisions and actions.

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