Homeschool and Family Drop-in Program

Outdoor learning

Chelsea Forest School Homeschool and Drop-In program


It’s currently a completely different world out there… we can now walk anywhere in the forest on the hard-packed snow. It’s easy for us to explore places and share secrets of the forest that were previously inaccessible.

Forest School is all about learning through play: letting kids lead the play and run with their imaginations while interacting with nature:

Two large depressions in the snow became a “house” with comfy couches. Fallen branches and twigs from a nearby white pine were used to build a “fire”. Low hanging spruce branches created a sheltered play area that was affectionately nicknamed the “bird’s nest.” Literacy and math can be found throughout the forest. Storytelling. Counting, adding and subtracting trees and bugs!

It’s always fun to return to favourite spots during previous Family Drop-ins and see the changes over the seasons:
• The beaver dam disappears under a fresh blanket of snow.
• The stream constantly snakes and swells and freezes and collapses – changing every week.
• The story-telling log is buried in a snow drift.

While most of the winter forest is covered in a layer of snow, we discover pockets of greenery on exposed rocks. These offer different textures to explore: the smooth and slippery ice, the hard and rough rock, and the soft and fuzzy moss.

Recently, a tiny spider surprised us. YES, spiders can survive the winter! This one was actually crawling across the snow! Maybe we disturbed its sleep.

Can you find the spider in the photo, below?
HINT: Look at the middle-right of the picture in the little bit of snow next to the mint-green splotch.

Explring details

Winter Spider

Once creative play create big smiles and heavy feet, we return to the NCC Visitor centre for a snack and a story. It’s the perfect way to end the Forest School Homeschool and Family Drop In!

Enjoy a taste of Forest School with your kids – perfect for young Homeschoolers and familes from Ottawa, Hull, Gatineau, Aylmer, Chelsea and Wakefield. The school is only 15-20 minutes from central Ottawa.

Join us every Tuesday from 9:30-11:30am from Sept to mid-June.

Meet at the entrance to the Sugarbush trail at the Gatineau Park Visitor’s Centre: 33 Scott Rd, Chelsea. Take Highway 5 to exit 13, turn left and find the visitor centre on the right.

For more information, visit our Facebook events page.

Or email:

Written by Christine Mattimoe – Chelsea Forest School

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