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What is Forest School?

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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!

We are in Mi'kma'ki

The Truro Forest School operates in Mi'kma'ki, the unceded and ancestral territory of the Mi'kmaq. We believe a holistic connection with nature must include a strong relationship with local Indigenous communities because we cannot do Forest School without including the voices of those who have been here, learning and teaching on the Land, since time immemorial. Our programs aim to incorporate Mi'kmaw ways of knowing as well as learner experiences facilitated by Mi'kmaw leaders.

Our Foundational Pillars

Connection

At the Truro Forest School we build connections with the Land, with each other, with the broader community, and with ourselves.

Discovery

Through play-based, inquiry-driven experiential learning, we discover the magic of nature! We discover our capabilities, interests and potential.  

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.

Benefits of Forest School

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- Improves physical health and mental health

- Enhances environmental stewardship

- Improves risk-taking and self-regulation skills

- Improves self-esteem and confidence

- Improves compassion and empathy for others

- Advances gross motor skills

- Promotes learning

- Stimulates creativity and imaginative play

- Improves working memory, attentional control, and cognitive flexibility

Resources

Last Child in the Woods

(Richard Louv, 2005)

Child and Nature Alliance of Canada

(www.childnature.ca)

Forest School Association

(www.forestschoolassociation.org)

Nature's Role in Promoting Resilience, Regulation and Recovery

(Child and Nature Network, 2022)

Do Experiences With Nature Promote Learning? Converging Evidence of a Cause-and-Effect Relationship.

(Kuo, Barnes and Jordan 2019)

Bringing Children Closer to Nature: Report of a survey on Forest School and outdoor learning in England

(Sylva Foundation, 2019)

Restorative experiences across seasons? Effects of outdoor walking and relaxation exercise during lunch breaks in summer and winter.

(Åge, Johnsen, Brown and Rydstedt 2022)

The Difference Between Outdoor Learning and Forest School

(Forest Schools, 2019)

Encouraging play in the natural environment: a child-focused case study of Forest School

(Ridgers, Knowles, Sayers, 2012)

Frequently Asked Questions

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