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About Us

Inspiring Children since 1964.

We recognize that every leaf, stream, and breeze holds the potential to ignite a child's imagination.

At Chelsea Forest School, your child will not only discover the joys of nature but also develop resilience, confidence, and a profound sense of belonging.  Watch your child flourish both in wisdom and in spirit, forming bonds that extend beyond the "classroom", and deep into the heart of the earth.

We're excited to meet you!

If you're curious about us... here's a little more information to get to know us better.

What's a Forest School?

We define Forest School as an educational ethos and practice that centres the Land and the child-at-play. Children and educators build a relationship with the Land through regular and repeated access to the same outdoor space over an extended period of time. Educators support learning through a pedagogical framework that is rooted in place and play, directed and inspired by the child (emergent curriculum), and driven by a process of inquiry.

-Child and Nature Alliance of Canada

Our History

Chelsea Forest School, originally established in 1964 as Chelsea Cooperative Nursery School (CCNS), is celebrated as one of the trailblazers of the forest school movement in Canada. Nestled in the heart of Chelsea and the Gatineau Hills, our school has been a focal point of community and familial bonds for generations, seamlessly integrating English and French learning within a nature-based curriculum.

Over a decade ago, in tune with our community's deep-seated love for the outdoors, we transformed from a traditional nursery school into a forest school. This evolution underscored our leadership in embracing outdoor education in Canada, offering children a unique opportunity to grow and learn amidst nature.

As a non-profit cooperative, Chelsea Forest School is a testament to the collaborative spirit of parents and community volunteers. Our commitment to fostering young minds in a bilingual and natural setting continues to shape future generations, nurturing their innate curiosity and connection to the natural world.

Meet our Teachers

Guides. Educators. Inspirers.

Our teachers have completed their Forest School Certification. They are delivering a child-directed, play-based program centered in and around nature. Through this program, our teachers create a bridge between the child’s home and “the World”, helping cultivate joy, wonder and stewardship for the environment within each youngster. Discover the passionate educators who bring our forest school to life. 

Our Forest

This is where we play, explore observe and connect. Week after week, we observe the subtle (and not so subtle) changes taking place on this land, fostering a deep connection and safe space to learn independence, foster community and create a sense of self in relation to the world. Our teachers regularly assess the land for safety.

Chelsea Forest School acknowledges that we gather and play on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabek Nation.

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