The Foundation of a Forest School

Forrest School Collingwood

Forest Schools first emerged in Scandinavia circa 1950. From these roots the trend spread across Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom. The first Forest School to open in Canada sprouted in Ottawa and is now the home base for Forest School Canada. The trend has spread fast across our country, and now Forest School and other nature education programs are spreading their seeds. Red-tailed Hawk Forest School is now recognized by Forest School Canada as Shannon Foley has completed their Practitioners Course.


What is a Forest School?

A forest school is a nature based education program. It is where students have a wealth of hands-on experiences in their natural environment, and all learning relates back to those experiences. Programming is largely based on emergent curriculum, however this is within a routine format. Multiple subject areas are integrated throughout the program.

Subjects at Red-tailed Hawk

There is a heavy emphasis on hands-on science in our Forest School program. Routine subjects include art, music, character building, problem solving, social studies, drama, reading, writing, math, and of course, physical activity. Specialized subjects and topics are integrated into the program on an ongoing basis as opportunities and students’ interests emerge.

Teaching is delivered through an inquiry approach where students are questioned rather than being lectured to for extended periods of time, and students are in turn encouraged to question themselves. This approach really stimulates natural curiosity and cultivates a lifelong love of learning - particularly in our natural environment.