PRECIOUS SEEDS PRESCHOOL FOREST ELEMENT
Precious Seeds Forest Element is an option offered as part of our holistic Montessori program.
As an extension of the Montessori classroom and modelled on the forest schools of Europe started back in the 1950’s, this outdoor element will bring preschool and kindergarten children to forest locations to hike, build, and play.
The goal of this program is to connect children to nature through play. We believe that an important part of childhood should be about exploring outdoors in an environment that supports child-led learning.
We hope you will consider adding this component to your child’s early education!
What is Forest School?
Our Forest Element is based on the Forest School philosophy. Forest School is different from other outdoor learning experiences in two ways. First, Forest School takes place in the same setting on a regular basis over an extended period of time. This gives students the opportunity to learn a great deal about the area and enables them to develop a lasting connection with nature.
Second, while there are some structured elements, the Forest School curriculum is largely emergent, child-directed, and play-based. The ethos of Forest School allows learners the time and space to develop their interests, skills, and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences. At Forest School, young people have the freedom to explore, play, build, create, imagine, and use their senses to experience the outdoor environment and engage with one another. Sustainability is woven into the culture of the classroom, and as nature becomes the third teacher, sustainability becomes the foundation on which both children and teachers stand.
Crescent Park Location
We will meet for the forest element of the program at Precious Seeds Montessori House, in the school yard. After our opening circle, we will walk to Crescent Park. Out of respect for the protected areas of the park, we will remain on-trail. We are in conversation with Surrey Parks to ensure our activities are in line with sustainability practices.
Our program runs almost exclusively outdoors in nearby Crescent Park and uses nature as a venue for exploratory play, no matter what the weather might be. We prepare children for these conditions and ensure that the children’s safety is our number one priority. If there are extreme weather conditions, i.e. severe cold or wind, children will join the indoor Montessori program.
Every day, facilitators do a safety check of the site and ensure that the children have all that they need in order to enjoy their time in the park. We believe that taking part in an outdoor learning environment will help future generations feel more comfortable in and connected to the natural world.
Crescent Park Map with our Sites
Carlson Creek Location
Our program runs daily almost exclusively outdoors in our mini 1/4 acre forest backyard and uses nature as a venue for exploratory play, no matter what the weather might be. We prepare children for these conditions and ensure that the children’s safety is our number one priority. If there are extreme weather conditions, i.e. severe cold or wind, children will join the indoor Montessori program.
Every day, facilitators do a safety check of the site and ensure that the children have all that they need in order to enjoy their time outdoors. We believe that taking part in an outdoor learning environment will help future generations feel more comfortable in and connected to the natural world.
- Environmental sustainability
- Child-led learning
- Experiential learning
- Holistic education
- Virtues Education
- Compassionate communication
- Low adult to child ratio (1:8 or less)
The Essence of the Forest School Element
The Forest Element connects children, 3-6 years old, with the natural world. Our facilitators are passionate about children and the natural world. We believe in engaging children’s imagination, modelling a sense of awe for the natural world, and using experience as the basis for learning. Simple activities linked with unstructured play can teach many valuable skills like cooperation, communication, and leadership.
Click for Benefits of Nature Play
2 day option: Monday and Wednesday 1:30-4pm
1 day option: Friday 9am-1:05pm
1 day option: Friday 1:30-4pm
Forest School “Curriculum”
- Recognizing patterns in the environment (leaves, spider webs…)
- Measuring natural materials using other natural materials
- Building items and measuring before you build (with materials on trail)
- Counting natural items
- Creating musical instruments with natural materials
- Setting up items that will move in the breeze
- Listening to the sounds in your environment
- Singing and dancing together
- Making land art with leaves, rocks, sticks
- Weaving with sticks
- Creating cordage
- Painting with natural materials
- Pounding flowers and leaves onto fabric
- Experimenting with natural dyes
- Creating “costumes” with natural materials
- Creating a story about your place
- Finding letter shapes in natural materials
- Writing messages with natural materials.
- Local/First Nations stories about plants and animals
- Songs, rhymes and picture books about local plants and animals
- Circle stories with the group
- Using loose natural parts to tell an oral story
- Learning animal languages
- Sharing your personal stories about natural experiences
- Narration in play
- Creating homes for real and imaginary animals
- Caring for animals and learning about their life cycles (Farm Portion)
- Understanding seasonal patterns
Sensory Play and Experiences
- Mud kitchen
- Playing with water on a tarp
- Sensory games such as “Sardines”
Large Motor Skills
- Throwing leaves and water into the air from a tarp
- Walking on different surfaces, i.e. rock path, mud, grass
- Balancing on logs and rocks
Fine Motor Skills
- Whittling sticks with potato peelers
- Creating cordage
- Making baskets from leaves and other fallen materials
- Journaling – drawing or writing
- Discussing where to go and what to do
- Talking about challenging situations and our comfort levels (“weapon” play)
- Making rules and setting limits as a group
- Problem-solving and working together on projects
- Hunting and gathering activities – searching for things together
- Integrating others into free-form, imaginary play
Reflection and Integration
- Looking for animal tracks and signs (on trail)
- Being deeply in an environment and getting to know its patterns
- Journaling or reflective art
- Sit spots for reflection
We will visit Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch Farm (Gabriel Farm) once a month, most months of the school year, to help with farm-related activities, such as planting, feeding animals, collecting eggs, and simple animal husbandry tasks. We will notify you of Farm Weeks on the School Calendar.
Farm Day Location: Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch
A Day in the Life of an Outdoor Learner
Check for appropriate clothing
Welcome circle, Welcome song, talk about the plans for the day, walk to site (Crescent Park location)
Site assessment, play, facilitator facilitated activity, game (eg. “Mud Kitchen”)
Wash hands, snack, story and tea time
Exploratory activity based on the interests of the group and whether we have something to continue exploring from the previous week (eg. nature hunt, painting with natural materials)
Hike back (Crescent Park location), outdoor activities
Pick up time
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us! Please complete the form below and submit to the Director:
“…education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.” ~ Maria Montessori, Education for a New World
Photo courtesy of Christina Mears