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  • Chelsea Forest School | Forest School in Ottawa Gatineau | Chelsea, Quebec, Canada

    Where nature and creativity come to play We are a bilingual outdoor learning experience serving the Ottawa-Gatineau (NCR) communities in Chelsea, Quebec for over 50 years! We strive to create a community of resilient, active children, empowered by valuing, enjoying and being curious about their natural and social surroundings. ​ Fall Registration FARM & FOREST SUMMER CAMP 2024 Registration Now Open! ages 6-12 1 - 3 weeks In Farrellton, QC learn more 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 is Forest School? Our History Meet our teachers Our location Our Programs FAQ Chelsea Forest School is a beautiful part of my kids' childhood! Forest School Day is my son's highlight of the week. Most mornings he looks out of his window and regardless if it rains, snows or the sun is shining, he declares that we have perfect forest school weather and that he should be able to go more often during the week. We have had kids in different forest school programs for the past 5 years and even though my oldest daughter was already in grade 5 when she attended, she loved the freedom to explore, create, climb, and relax in a marvelous setting just as much as her younger brothers. I notice how the kids learn to take calculated risks in nature and are confident in making good decisions outdoors. The teachers are calm and patient and always have kind words to share about each child during pick-up, and my son has remarked that he feels understood. Esther Shoemaker, PhD. We can't wait for you to Join us in the Forest! Let's stay in touch. Sign up to find out when registration opens, plus other news and events from Chelsea Forest School! Email Subscribe

  • Register | Chelsea Forest School

    2024-2025 Registration Welcome to Registration for the 2024-2025 Forest School season! Please note: Registration is a commitment for a full year (September to June). The application (below) is time-stamped and on a first come first served basis when the non-refundable $250 membership fee is paid (sent out via email the same day, or day after, you register, payable via e-transfer, so please watch for it!) Please refer to our FAQ for more information. ​ We look forward to seeing you in the Forest! Questions? Email Jess. Form not displaying properly? Use this button... Register Now

  • Programs | Chelsea Forest School

    Programs & Registration Registration for Fall-Spring 2024-2025 begins May 13th 2024 at 9pm! Register here! Our Programs We offer classes Monday to Friday for ages 3-12. Our classes feature a bilingual teacher, fostering early independence and social skills like sharing, turn-taking, and peaceful conflict resolution. Our play-based curriculum, rooted in the forest school model, encourages comfort in all weather, nurturing resilience and a love of nature. Children develop teamwork, self-confidence, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, creativity, and social skills, all while safely exploring and taking age-appropriate risks. We tailor challenges to each class's maturity and ability, sometimes creating groups by shared interests. Our activities also integrate learning, with math skills developed through counting, patterning, sorting, and measuring, and language skills enhanced through storytelling, rhyming, and everyday communication. ​ View our Programs here: Parent & tots Pre-School- Aged School-Aged SUMMER CAMP CHIPMUNKS 2024-25 Session Dates will be announced by mid-August with Registration to follow. This program is for children aged 1 to 4 and their accompanying parent(s). While toddlers will benefit most from this class, babies-in-arms and siblings are welcome too. Anyone curious about child-centred play in a natural environment will love this time together! An experienced forest school teacher will facilitate safe and fun outdoor play, answer any questions for parents, provide guidance on clothing, and sing the occasional song too! The day will start with free play, followed by a quick circle time. We'll then head off to the forest to play, and end our day with an appreciation song. Bring a snack and come dressed for all types of weather (wind, rain, snow, and sun). Parents will be expected to supervise their own children at all times while the Forest School educator is there to facilitate the group, and model child led learning. Our Junior Programs: Our pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs offer enriching experiences for young learners. In the morning, our youngest explorers engage in playful discovery in a safe forest setting. For our older children, full-day sessions provide deeper forest exploration, combining structured learning with the joys of nature play. Both programs nurture a love of the outdoors in a secure and inspiring environment. ​ Membership fee is $250/family, and registration is a commitment for a full school year (September to June). 3% discount will be applied for additional si blings. Join the Waitlist TADPOLES 3 years old by December 31st Birthdate: Oct. 2020-December 2021 SCHEDULE: Tuesday & Thursday 8:30- 11:30 am. ​ This class is designed for our youngest explorers. Children should be 3 years old by December 31st and able to attend the class independently from their parents. All children must be toilet trained. As with all of our preschool classes, parents take turns volunteering as a duty parent with the class. Your ‘duty day’ comes up once every 4-6 weeks. Tadpoles are starting to become more independent and less reliant on others to do it for them. They still need help with dressing and looking after their belongings. For many this may be their first time away from home without a parent. The children will learn to follow group instructions, wait their turn, have their needs met by someone other than their parents and enjoy being outside in all kinds of weather. They are still quite egocentric in their development and their play is largely parallel. Their large muscles, agility and balance will all improve while navigating the uneven ground of the forest and climbing on logs and large rocks. ​ Tuition: $2910 (paid in installments) FROGS 3.5 - 5 years old Birthdate: October 1 2019 - Mar 30, 2021 SCHEDULE: Mon-Wed-Fri 8h30-11h30 am ​ This class for 3.5-5 year olds works well in combination with traditional daycare or a stay at home parent. Frogs are more independent than Tadpoles but will likely still need help doing up coats and putting on mittens and boots. They can look after their own belongings with verbal prompts. Frogs are largely at the cooperative play stage of development and immerse themselves daily in great imaginary games. As the class meets three times a week, the children and teachers get to know each other well. Skills such as independence, empathy, self confidence and emotional regulation develop quickly. As with all of our preschool classes, parents take turns volunteering as a duty parent with the class. Your ‘duty day’ comes up about once a month. ​ Tuition is $4010 (paid in installments) ​ NEW! With sufficient demand, we will be able to offer a program with the Meredith Centre from 11:30-4pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for our Frogs! Please see this link to confirm your interest. ​ DRAGONFLIES 4 and 5 years old Birthdate: Oct 1, 2018 -Sept 30. 2020 SCHEDULE: Tuesdays 9h00 – 16h00 ​ This class for 4 and 5 year olds meets once a week for the full day of adventures. This is a 7 hour program and accommodations cannot be made for children who need to nap in the afternoon. Your child should have the stamina to last an entire action packed day! Your child should be able to get dressed and undressed independently with only a little help for the tricky bits. Dragonflies are expected to look after their own belongings, with verbal prompts as required. Their play is full of imagination and quite active. The ability to assess risk, problem solve, and communicate effectively with our peers are all skills that our dragonflies develop during their time at Forest school. As with all of our preschool classes, parents take turns volunteering as a duty parent with the class. Your ‘duty day’ comes up about once every 3 months Tuition: $3000 (paid in installments) Curious about what we do? A DAY AT FOREST SCHOOL Find out more Our School-Aged Programs: Our programs cater to a diverse group of learners, including school-attending children and homeschoolers, seasoned Forest School alumni, and first-time participants. Tailored to meet the needs and interests of older children, these programs provide an ideal platform for your 'big kids' to truly excel and shine. Engaging and dynamic, they encourage deeper exploration, foster advanced skills, and promote a sustained connection with nature, all within a supportive and stimulating environment. Membership fee is $250/family, and registration is a commitment for a full school year (September to June). 3% discount will be applied for additional siblings. FOXES 5 to 7 year olds. Birthdate: Oct. 2017-Sept. 30 2019 SCHEDULE: Wednesday 9 to 4:00 ​ This is a mixed age group for 5 to 7 year olds. These children will meet once a week for a full day of fun, adventure and learning. This class is ideal for more mature/experienced Dragonfly aged children or young Coyote aged children who still enjoy the imaginative games of the younger kids. The younger children should have the stamina to keep up with their older classmates. All children will develop their empathy, leadership and problem solving skills. Along the way, they will grow in self confidence and improve their ability to communicate, resolve conflicts and assess risk. This is similar to a Dragonfly class with the expectation for children to be independent in this mixed age grouping. ​ As with all of our preschool classes, parents take turns volunteering as a duty parent with the class. Your ‘duty day’ comes up about once every 3 months ​ Tuition: $3000 (paid in installments) COYOTES 6 to 10 year olds Birthdate: Oct. 1, 2013- Sept 30 , 2018 SCHEDULE: Mondays OR Fridays 9 - 4:00 ​ This school age program is a full day program once a week. The children develop and/or enhance all the skills as in the younger classes but also get to observe and use first hand the knowledge they are learning in their school environments. Literacy skills (journals, communication, conflict management, story telling), math (measurement, volume, balance, problem solving), life cycles (plants, insects, water cycle) and physics (simple machines, force, pressure, friction) are just a few of the things that are experienced through play. Coyotes must be able to dress and undress from their outdoor clothing independently, look after their own belongings, and follow group rules and expectations. Coyotes are physically capable of bigger explorations and adventures during a 7 hour day outside. Please note: new this year- Although a regular volunteer commitment with the class is not required for Coyotes, we ask that all parents spend at least one half day with the class during the Fall semester. ​ Tuition: $2850 (paid in installments) WOLVES 10+ years old SCHEDULE: Monday 9 to 4:00 This pre-teen/early teen program is for mature children aged 10 and up. Wolves need a minimum of supervision and are trustworthy enough to be given greater responsibilities. Child led programming is still quite evident as the Wolves are given ample opportunity to explore their own projects and discuss with their teacher and classmates what they want to learn over the year. The MEQ (Quebec Ministry of Education) program is supported in a more formal manner. Wolves still love to play but their play is more collaborative, involved and complex. Prerequisite: Children must have at least one full year of previous Forest School experience. ​ ​ Tuition: $2850 (paid in installments) Additional Programming: Interested in Foundations in Forest School or Summer camp? Register below! FARM & FOREST SUMMER CAMP 2024 We are so happy for our renewed partnership with Rock's End Farm to offer summer camp. Camp will take place at Rock's End Farm in Farrellton, Quebec (7 minutes North of Wakefield, Quebec. AGE: This camp is for children between the ages of 6 and 12 as of camp. TIME: Camp will begin at 9am and pick up is between 3:45pm and 4:00pm, Monday to Friday, for each camp. There is no after-care option available. CAMP 1: July 15 to 19th (FULL!) CAMP 2: July 29th to Aug. 2nd CAMP 3: Aug. 12th to 16th (CANCELLED) COST: $340 per child/week,* payable by e-transfer within 48 hours of receiving your invoice (to confirm your spot). ​ camp registration FOUNDATIONS IN FOREST SCHOOL April 27th and 28th 2024 Join our hands-on course designed for parents, daycare providers, and classroom teachers who wish to engag e more with children outdoors! Course Overview: Gain confidence and safety skills for outdoor activities in nature. This course blends theory and practical experiences, providing insights into forest school practices adaptable to various environments, from schoolyards to forests and riversides. Learn about child-led, experiential, play-based learning from our expert instructors. Key Topics: Forest school philosophy Risk/benefit assessments Child-led learning and play benefits Risky play exploration Language: Instruction in English with bilingual support in French. Setting: Primarily outdoor classes in a forest school environment, with access to indoor facilities. Tuition: $300/participant ($200 for full-time students). Limited bursaries available, inquire at chelseacoop1964@gmail.com. ​ Foundations Registration Get a head start! Not ready to join Forest School yet? Please complete the form to receive notification when our next registration period begins! First Name Last Name Date of Birth Email Address Phone Age range: Available Start Date What do we need to know about your child? Submit Thanks for submitting!

  • We are a co-op! | ChelseaForestSchool

    What Makes Our Co-op School Unique? Chelsea Forest School is not just a school, we're a community! Founded on co-operative principles, our school thrives through the active involvement and dedication of parent members. Each parent, as a co-op member, plays a vital role in our school's success and decision-making processes. Your Role in Our Co-op: Participation in Governance: Attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting and other general meetings. Direct Involvement: Engage in duty days, helping in the classroom on a rotational basis. Supporting Events: Assist in planning, organizing, and participating in fundraising events. Promoting Our School: Contribute to the school's promotion within the community. Governance and Transparency: Our parent-led Board of Directors, including the teaching director, meets regularly to steer the school's course. All parents are welcome to attend these meetings, with minutes and important updates shared on our website and via email. What Does a Co-op School Offer? Reduced Costs & High Standards: Managed by parents and funded through fees, donations, and fundraisers. Family Involvement: Parents actively participate in their child's early education and connect with other community members. Benefits for Children and Families: Children learn social skills, routine, and enjoy having their parents involved. Families gain insights into child development and build community connections. Smooth integration of children into the elementary school system. Through co-operative effort, our school not only educates but also builds a supportive and engaged community. CFS Board of Directors The Board of Directors at Chelsea Forest School is made up of dedicated volunteer parents, grandparents, and community members. Given the nature of our school, board membership often changes as students move on, offering fresh opportunities for new parents and guardians to step in. It's an integral part of our community that every parent or guardian actively participates in one of the school's various committees. Despite the frequent introduction of new members, our past and present executive committees have successfully maintained a balanced budget for Chelsea Forest School for over half a century. This track record of exemplary management is a testament to our community's commitment and is expected to continue into the future. The executive board may be reached at chelseacoop1964@gmail.com We'd like to thank our amazing parent, grandparent and community volunteers for always going above and beyond for our little school. ​ 2023-2024 Board of Directors Co-Presidents: Ryan Katz-Rosene & Jessica Lafleur Vice President (Operations): Joanna James Vice President (Staffing): Sophine Johnsson Secretary: Pat Curry Treasurer: Aditi Krishna Administrator: Rebecca Overall Director of Communications: Matt Shamess Director of Fundraising: Chloe Vendette Director of Membership & Volunteers: Krysta Matthews & Nancy Godsoe Director of Charitable Initiatives: Jessica Lesperance Teaching Director: Michelle Hegge ​ Website photography by Jessica Hodgson (with some photos by the CFS teachers!)

  • About | Chelsea Forest School

    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 is Forest School? Our History Meet our teachers Our location Our Programs FAQ What's a Forest School? A Whittling Wolf Fun in the Pond with the Frogs Dragonflies2023_25 A Whittling Wolf 1/7 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. Teacher and Teaching Director: MICHELLE HEGGE ​ Background: BSc Honours (Biology-specialization Ecology), B.Ed , Forest School Practitioner Level 3, Standard First Aid-Level C and CPR ​ Michelle is the driving force behind all we do here at CFS. For more than 25 years, Michelle has infused her love of nature and background in Biology into the original Nursery School program and now the Forest school. She believes passionately in the value of play based learning and the importance of lots of outside time! Nature is Michelle’s happy place and when she is not at Forest School you can find her either working as a Nature Interpreter for the Friends of Gatineau Park or exploring the various trails of Gatineau Park on skis, snowshoes, foot or bike. CHRISTINE MATTIMOE Background: BSc (Env.), B.Ed., Standard First Aid-Level C and CPR ​ Christine is greatly influenced by her childhood in rural West-Africa where she freely played outdoors every day. She enjoys reliving some of those favourite childhood memories with her two boys: climbing trees, exploring the forest, listening to cicadas on a hot summer evening, and sitting on the veranda and reading a good book on a rainy day. In her teen years, Christine fed her love of nature and developed her leadership skills through involvement in Girl Guides, summer camps and wilderness canoe trips. She studied Environmental Science and has considerable experience in nature interpretation and outdoor education. This led her to a career in teaching. She taught 6 years at public and private elementary schools before taking a break to raise a family. A teacher at heart with a passion for nature and a love of music, Christine led preschool music programs for a few years before finding a perfect fit teaching at Chelsea Forest School. In her leisure time, Christine likes gardening, camping, canoeing, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, singing, travelling, and learning foreign languages. SARINA PASCIUTA Background : Honours BA Environmental Studies (Bilingual), Forest and Nature School Practitioner Certificate, Standard First Aid Level C and CPR ​ Sarina was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, and has dreamed of being a teacher since she was a little girl. Growing up, she loved playing outside and going on camping trips with her family. These experiences sparked her love for nature and inspired her to complete an Honours Degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Ottawa. Sarina has worked with children for eight years in various educational and extracurricular settings. Her previous work experience includes supply teaching, managing summer camps, and tutoring. When she discovered Forest School she knew she found her dream teaching job. For Sarina, it has always been important to help children nurture their connection with nature and with themselves. She believes all children deserve to connect with nature, learn about it, learn from it, and enjoy the activities that are possible within it. Outside of her life has a teacher, Sarina loves snowboarding, surfing, biking, and hiking. She also enjoys gardening, camping, reading, baking and traveling Ryan Shea Background: BSc Honours (Human Kinetics), B. Ed., Neufeld Level 3, Standard First Aid-Level C and CPR ​ Ryan taught full time in public elementary schools for 8 years. He now enjoys a different pace to life: raising his child at home and working at the forest school. The two are not always so different for him! He loves to hike, climb rocks, identify wild mushrooms, and camp under the stars (in all four seasons). He believes that the more closely attached we are in our relationships – to nature, to community, to family – the more we will care for and nurture them. He makes it a daily practice to tend to these relationships. REBECCA RADMORE Background: ECCE Diploma, Children's yoga teacher training, Standard first aid level C & CPR Being a teacher has been Becky's dream since she was four years old, growing up in Aylmer. She started her ECE career supplying in traditional childcare centres whenever she wasn't traveling. She has been a beloved nanny for two families in Wakefield and Chelsea over the past ten years. Now she sees herself as a facilitator of the forest, allowing nature to be the true teacher. Mindfulness, mystical storytelling, love of wildlife, and creative nature crafts are some of her favourite things to share with the children. She believes that childhood is sacred and that free play in the woods is where the most magical and enriching moments await. She feels very fortunate to be a witness to all the learning that happens here. MEAGHAN LEUNG Background: B.Sc. Honours (Biology and French), B.Ed., Forest School Practitioner, Standard First Aid Level C and CPR ​ Meaghan’s love of nature began when she was a girl going hiking and camping with her family, and grew through many years of guiding and, later, adventure camping. She completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award and experienced the expedition of a lifetime when she traveled to Canada’s Arctic and Greenland with Students On Ice. An avid traveler, she also visited India, many countries in Europe, and spent a summer living and working on the south coast of France, always seeking out natural spaces to explore! Professionally, Meaghan has 16 years of experience as a primary school teacher, teaching French immersion at several grade levels. She spent a year homeschooling and running a home-based learning pod during COVID. She has always loved bringing the learning outside. She first became interested in Forest School when her two oldest children attended a Forest School summer camp in 2015. Meaghan completed the Forest School Practitioners Course in February 2022. At home, Meaghan enjoys camping and exploring with her husband and their five children. She also enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, gardening, skiing, and baking. KIM HEDGES [ BIO is coming soon!] 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.

  • Philosophy | ChelseaForestSchool

    The Forest School Philosophy "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 Mission and Goals Mission: To provide accessible innovative outdoor education that is play-based and child-led.​ Goals: Our dedicated early childhood educators and committed parents strive to: Cultivate an early love of nature and interest in all aspects of their own local natural surroundings. Foster our students’ competence, self-confidence, and eagerness to safely explore and enjoy the outdoors. Provide pre-school children with an opportunity to meet and enjoy their peers and to learn how to operate in a group setting with respect, cooperation, patience, and listening skills. Ensure a relevant and sustainable future for the school through relationships with parents, other organizations, and the broader community. Promote among parents and the broader community the notion that being active and taking supported risks outside is critical to children’s social, physical and emotional development and prepares them for learning throughout life. Unleashing Your Child's Potential in Nature's Classroom Transformative Learning for Life: At Chelsea Forest School, we don't just prepare children for kindergarten; we equip them with lifelong skills. Picture your child thriving through cooperation, teamwork, independence, empathy, resilience, and self-confidence, all nurtured in an engaging, active learning environment. ​ Homeschoolers' Social Haven: Our school adds a vibrant dimension to homeschooling, offering rich social interactions and peer connections that enrich your child’s educational journey. ​ Fostering Physical Well-being: Watch your child’s physical fitness soar in our stimulating outdoor activities, promoting health and vitality. ​ Year-Round Nature Immersion: We champion outdoor play in all seasons, instilling a love and respect for the environment and teaching adaptability. ​ Expert Guidance, Safe Exploration: Our certified forest school educators and trained preschool development experts craft a child-directed, play-based curriculum. We encourage children to explore and expand their boundaries in a safe, carefully assessed environment. ​ Personalized Attention: With high adult-to-child ratios, your child receives personalized support, ensuring a rich and attentive educational experience. ​ Community at Heart: With over 50 years of community involvement, we understand the value of togetherness. Parental involvement isn’t just welcomed; it’s integral to our ethos. ​ Risk Assessment & Forest School Play: Safety First! Risk Assessment At Chelsea Forest School, rigorous risk assessments are integral to every activity, from stick play to tree climbing. We evaluate each activity's potential risks, categorize them as high, medium, or low, and then implement tailored safety measures to ensure all activities are adjusted to a "low" risk level. Activities that cannot be safely managed are not permitted. Key Safety Measures for Our Activities: Stick Play: Benefits: Develops motor skills, coordination, teamwork, and creative thinking. Safety: We teach the 'Blood Bubble' rule for safe space, limit stick sizes, ensure close supervision, and enforce rules against hitting people or running with sticks. Tree Climbing: Benefits: Enhances physical strength, core stability, and promotes self-awareness. Safety: Supervised climbing only, tree health checks, clothing guidelines, branch strength assessment, a 3-meter height limit, and communication skills for safe climbing. Tool Use: Benefits: Builds muscle coordination and risk assessment skills. Safety: Designated supervised areas, use of safety gloves, the 'Blood Bubble' rule, and gradual introduction to tool use based on individual child's ability. Fire: Benefits: Teaches fire respect, builds confidence, and enhances practical skills. Safety: Fires are conducted with strict supervision, safety boundaries, and adherence to fire regulations. Children are taught fire safety and respect, with a focus on maintaining a safe distance. These measures are part of our commitment to providing a secure and enriching learning environment, where children can safely explore and engage with nature. A Day at Chelsea Forest School Each day begins at home base as the children arrive and parents check in with the teachers. The children are invited into play by a selection of loose parts put out for the morning. Once most children have arrived and settled in, we tidy up the toys and have circle time. At circle we sing songs, share news, play games and make plans for the day. Where shall we play today? Is there anything in particular that you would like to do? (make a fort in the forest, go sledding at Sandy beach, search for tadpoles in the pond etc. ). After circle we have our bathroom routine and eat our snack and then it’s off for more play in whatever location the children have chosen. Full day programs pause for lunch at noon which includes some quieter play, books and crafts once their lunch is eaten. Then a second location is chosen for the afternoon and off we go! The exact routine varies with the season, the weather, the class and the children’s interests but each day will include lots of play, a variety of learning opportunities, social interaction, risk assessment, songs, stories and gratitude while connecting with the land. 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 is Forest School? Our History Meet our teachers Our location Our Programs FAQ

  • Plans & Pricing | ChelseaForestSchool

    Choose your pricing plan The Chihuahuas CA$ 800 800CA$ Every 3 months +CA$200 membership fee Ages 37-45, Sundays Valid for 9 months Select Service 1

  • Resources | ChelseaForestSchool

    Resources How to dress & what to pack for a day at forest school Children should be dressed in weather-appropriate clothing that is comfortable and enables them to be physically active. Please keep in mind that your child will get dirty at Forest school. We believe in messy play! There is no bad weather, only bad clothing! Label! Label! Label! It can’t be emphasized enough; all outdoor clothing, shoes, hats, boots, sweaters, lunch boxes, etc. must be labeled. We all shop at the same stores and young children are not great at identifying their belongings. We have an account with Mabel’s Labels if you are interested in using them to label your child’s belongings. Look for Chelsea Forest School at mableslabels.ca and 20% of the profits will go back to the school! ​ Fall & Spring Baseball Hat/Brimmed Hat: For those sunny days please send your child with a hat to keep the sun off their head and face. It is also good protection against bugs. Running Shoes: For use in early Fall and late Spring on dry days. Open-toe shoes are never acceptable (flip flops, crocs, sandals). Running shoes or closed-toed shoes are accepted but remember that it may be dry where you live but very wet in the forest. Long-Sleeved Shirt and Long Pants: Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are recommended to decrease bug bites and scrapes. Long pants should be tucked into socks. Rain Jacket: It should be of good quality and big enough to wear layers under. Rain Pants: Rain pants (not splash pants) please ensure that they are truly waterproof- with elasticized bottoms that can be pulled over boots. Think sitting on the wet ground! As an example, the MEC rain gear is quite good. We love to play IN the puddles, splashing, sitting, etc. ​ Rain Boots: Check that your child’s boots don't leak, and have room for wool socks inside! We spend a lot of time wading in puddles and hanging out on the edge of our pond. By late Fall insulated rain boots will be necessary. (Bogs, Kamik, etc). Wool Socks: Merino wool socks are not itchy. They can be worn in all seasons. Not only are they warmer than cotton, but they can wick moisture away from the skin. We will get wet. We play in the puddles, slushy snow, and deep snow. Cold feet can ruin an otherwise fun experience for everyone. All children should also have extra wool socks in their backpacks. Cotton socks are never acceptable. Gloves/Mitts: Light gloves/mittens for those cooler days. (Please do not send your child with gloves if they are unable to put them on by themselves in a timely fashion). Extra Clothes: Always pack extra clothes as we spend a lot of time in puddles and the pond at this time of year and can get wet! Loose clothing: Oversized t-shirts, basketball-style shorts, skirts, and dresses should be tucked in or not worn at forest school due to the danger of catching on branches, etc. Winter Snow boots: Make sure that your child’s boots are waterproof and WARM. The all-season boots such as Bogs (they are rated to -30) work well for many children. That way the same boot can be worn from October through May. However, less active children find that they are not warm enough on our coldest winter days. We are out in ALL temperatures if even for a short time. Waterproof Winter Mitts: The ones with the long elasticized cuffs that pull on over the snowsuit are ideal. Short mittens leave a gap between sleeve and mitten which gets full of snow and is uncomfortable and cold! Please send your child with at least 3 pairs of mittens for full-day programs, and 2 for half days. Gloves are not acceptable in winter as they do not keep hands warm enough. As we strongly encourage independence, children should be taught to put their mittens on last. Do not put them under their snowsuits! We are often taking our mitts off and on for a variety of reasons and this makes it very challenging. As well, this means they are unable to put on the rest of their clothing independently. Neck Warmer/Buff/Balaclava: Scarves are choking hazards around trees and are not recommended. Every child should have at least two neck warmers/balaclava. They get wet and soggy after playing outside and it is nice to have a dry one to put on after lunch. ​ Base layer: Wool or synthetic (not cotton) base layers are necessary, again this helps children stay warm and dry. They help wick away moisture and keep the body heat in. Layering clothing is the best option as this allows children to take clothing off as they get hot and put clothing on as they get cold. It's always better to have too much clothing than not enough! If you are having trouble getting your child to dress appropriately for Forest school, don't fight them. Let them wear what they want and bring the appropriate clothing to school with you and we will handle the situation. Children tend to be more receptive when they arrive at school and see what everyone else is wearing and when the rules are explained by a teacher. Although specific stores/brands have been mentioned (i.e MEC, Bogs) there is no requirement to purchase from these retailers. They have been mentioned simply to provide an example of the quality and/or type of equipment we require. Second-hand stores often have amazing deals on outgrown quality rain gear and boots. 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 is Forest School? Our History Meet our teachers Our location Our Programs FAQ Chelsea Forest School is a beautiful part of my kids' childhood! Forest School Day is my son's highlight of the week. Most mornings he looks out of his window and regardless if it rains, snows or the sun is shining, he declares that we have perfect forest school weather and that he should be able to go more often during the week. We have had kids in different forest school programs for the past 5 years and even though my oldest daughter was already in grade 5 when she attended, she loved the freedom to explore, create, climb, and relax in a marvelous setting just as much as her younger brothers. I notice how the kids learn to take calculated risks in nature and are confident in making good decisions outdoors. The teachers are calm and patient and always have kind words to share about each child during pick-up, and my son has remarked that he feels understood. Esther Shoemaker, PhD.

  • Forum | ChelseaForestSchool

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  • FAQ | Chelsea Forest School

    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. 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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