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Forest School FAQs

  • How does Forest School prepare my child for Kindergarten?
    Forest School develops confident, inquisitive life long learners . Studies have shown that children who attend Forest School are ahead of their peers in cognitive, problem solving and social skills when entering the regular school stream.
  • How many children are there in class?
    As a Forest School, our teacher to child ratios are 6:1, occasionally going up to 8:1 in our older classes. That means we have a maximum of 12 children per class with 2 teachers. In addition, the preschool classes each have a volunteer duty parent in attendance.
  • Can children in the three-day classes come only two days? And pay for only two?
    Children enrolled in three-day classes are welcome to attend only two days per week, however payment of the full tuition fee for three days is required!
  • How do they go to the bathroom if outside all the time?
    We have a portable toilet and handwashing station that is used outside in warmer weather. Bathroom routine happens before snack and lunch time each day. Once the weather is too cold to eat outside we use the bathrooms in the Meredith Centre. . In the event that a child needs to go to the bathroom while we are out on an adventure, they will be brought to an appropriate spot and taught to go outdoors. We always carry soap and water or hand sanitizer for washing hands afterwards.
  • What ages are your programs geared towards?
    Our regular programs are for ages 3-10. There are opportunities for children older than 10 if they have had at least one year of Forest school with us. Children younger than 3 are welcome to participate in one of our Chipmunk (parent and me) sessions with their parents.
  • What is your withdrawal policy?
    Forest School learning is a process that happens over time in the same nature based location and with a consistent group creating a strong sense of community. For this reason, Registration is a commitment to the full school year. Should extenuating circumstances force you to have to withdraw midway through the year, a full month’s notice is required.
  • Are the children really outside all the time? Even in January?
    While the weather is above freezing we will be outside for the entire day. We have tarp shelters for use on rainy days and once it is too cold to eat outside, we go inside the Meredith Centre for snack and lunch time, usually leaving our snow/rain pants on to facilitate a quick return outside. Rainy weather provides a multitude of opportunities for full sensory learning and enjoyment of nature in all its forms. We will of course go inside in the event of a thunderstorm. In extreme cold, we monitor the children closely and may extend our snack or lunch time with additional activities. The children learn how to dress appropriately for the weather and valuable skills such as how to regulate their body temperature by keeping moving and adding or removing layers. They become resilient quite quickly and seldom complain about being out in any weather.
  • Is the registration fee required to hold a spot in the waiting list?
    No, if a child is on the waiting list parents will not be required to pay the registration fee until a vacant spot becomes available!
  • Are the classes structured to include music, stories, crafts, etc.?
    Every class starts with a brief circle time where songs are sung, games are played and class discussions are held. In addition, because Forest School is a child led, play based program the activities for each day are determined by the children’s interest. They choose where they would like to play and much imaginative fun ensues. The teachers provide loose parts and art materials as required. Stories are often read and told, songs are sung throughout the day and nature is explored.
  • Are classes held in French or English?
    All classes have at least one teacher who can communicate in both languages. The predominant language spoken at our Forest school is English but both languages happen all the time. Our classes tend to be a mix of French and English speaking children so the amount of French spoken depends on the children enrolled. Children learn routine instruction, sing songs and hear stories in both English and French. You will often hear bilingual conversations as a French speaking child responds to an English speaking child in French and vice versa.
  • Is financial aid available?
    As of the 2024-2025 school year, we have a small bursary program available. More information can be found in the bursary section of this website.
  • How often do duty days come up?
    If a class is fully enrolled with 12 children, duty days come up about once a month in half day classes (Tadpoles and Frogs) and once every 3 months in full day classes. (Dragonflies and Foxes)
  • Are we a daycare?
    No, we are a part-time forest school offering learning opportunities in a stimulating, nurturing environment, immersed in nature.
  • Do you provide before and/or after care?
    At this time we do not have the facility to provide care outside of school hours.
  • What kind of fundraising activities are parents involved in? Is it mandatory?
    A few small fundraisers are held each year to raise funds that help keep our programs accessible to all. Parent involvement is important and mandatory. There are many ways to volunteer to support or even lead our fundraising efforts. These events are fun to be part of!
  • What are ‘Duty Days’ like? Can siblings come?
    Duty days are designed for parents to have fun and share the learning with their preschool child! Parents are essential as an extra set of eyes and ears as we play in the forest. Although only teachers can help children with toileting, a duty parent’s help with handwashing is invaluable. During the colder months when we eat inside, a quick sweep of the floor and cleaning the tables is also requested. As our school promotes families and community involvement we welcome siblings to join the duty parent and share in the fun! However, if the sibling will require so much care that it impacts your ability to help the teachers , we ask that you leave them at home.
  • When do we pay tuition and do you provide tax receipts?
    Tuition is payable in 3 installments throughout the year. All programs receive receipts. We also provide RL-24 tax refund slips annually for preschool children under the age of 6.
  • What are the teachers like?
    The teachers at Chelsea Forest School are extremely dedicated and committed. They love children, the outdoors and nature. All are qualified educators with many years experience teaching in early childhood environments. They bring laughter, fun, security and friendship to the children and families who join our school.
  • Are schools okay with me taking my school-aged kid out of class once a week to attend Forest School?
    Each school has their own policy about this, but more and more traditional schools are becoming informed about the benefits of Forest School and can be quite supportive. Of course, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child does not fall behind in their regular school work and that they attend class for important events, tests etc, even if they fall on a Forest School day.
  • What about homeschoolers?
    CFS has a thriving homeschooling community throughout all the age groups, and our program is perfect for complementing a homeschool curriculum of any kind!
  • Can parents choose any time of day from more than one class to send their child?
    Each of our classes has set hours and days of operation. Children enrolled in a class may only attend during those specified days and times. Please check the Programs page for details of class time and availability. It is possible to register in more than one class that your child is qualified for. For example, when more than one Dragonfly class is offered, some of our children enroll in both.
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