Inspired by the educators at Forest School Canada, authors like Peter Gray and Richard Louv, I made a commitment last fall to not only get my girls out in nature on a regular basis but the kids in our homeschool community as well. With that, Tuesday’s “Free Range Forest Play” sessions were born. I see this as my first step towards a full-fledged Forest School in the future.
The idea was simple, to bring together parents and children in a beautiful natural location where the children can explore freely, play freely, build freely, take risks, solve conflicts, and ultimately exert full control over how they spend their time in nature (no adult directed agenda).
Parents were encouraged to spend time together away from the playing children in the woods. It all evolved naturally, some days we were all in the woods together, some days the parents shared, connected and commiserated at the picnic table over the joys and hardships that come with homeschooling spirited young ones. Friendships were strengthened, new skills were shared and learned and most importantly we built a community. A community that is growing and at the heart of it, is creating a much-needed safe, natural space for the children to be well, children.
I wanted to share some of my favourite images from our fall sessions at Victoria Park. The stories that accompany these images fill my heart with love and joy. I encourage you to review them with your kiddo and ask him/her about their memories and tell them the stories of their time there.
The time we all stopped what we were doing to search for a “missing” friend, bravely led by her big sister who went to look even when she was nervous about the woods.
The time we discovered and fell in love with the booty shaking mini wooly aphids.
The hard teamwork that went into creating our base camp, followed by the destruction and reconstruction of base camp.
The time we tried and failed to bring down the fallen tree lol.
The time we shared yummy homemade cookies and got chocolate all over our faces.
The time we discovered the homeless encampment and the discussions we had about that.
The nature finds we explored, the structures the kids built.
The times we spent in circle talking about how we were brave, how we were kind and how we failed.
Telling stories is so important, some of my favourite stories happened at those picnic tables and in those woods 🙂 What was your kiddo’s fav memory/story? Please post in the comments! 🙂 I could go on and on…
We are moving to a new location for the winter, a beautiful larger forest full of trails, hills and so much to explore. But the idea will stay the same 😉 See you there!