Victoria Nature School Society is a non-profit, community-based organization committed to inspiring a love of child-led play and exploration in nature. This progressive organization began as Victoria's first forest school in September 2013 and offers the following:
Forest School Programs for 3-5 Year-Olds
Forest School Programs for 5-6 Year-Olds
Teacher-Training Workshops (Preschool, K-Grade 6)
Resources for Teachers & Parents
VNS' vision is to be a leader in forward-thinking, child-led, nature-based programming. Through modeling and teacher training OLA prepares children and educators to be inquisitive, happy students of life-long learning, with a passion for taking care of their natural environment.
To inspire educational communities to embrace child-led play and exploration in nature.
The Victoria Nature School Society aims to be a model of collaboration, sharing passions and talents with other educators looking to create new systems of education. The Victoria Nature School Society is excited about creating a culture of collaboration and community where ideas can be exchanged and networks created, locally, across Canada, and internationally. The power of collaboration, put simply -sharing, can create a synergy that can greatly impact the lives of children that we serve by creating solutions for a better world.
VNS is committed to providing forward-thinking early childhood and teacher-training programs, designed using current research to inspire and challenge learning through child-led play and exploration in nature.
VNS' philosophy is rooted in the forest school model and is based on the belief that bringing children into nature helps them learn in a self-guided manner, and enables them to flourish as creative and innovative learners, responsible adventurers, and playful, collaborative thinkers. At the Victoria Nature School, the goal is to help children explore what excites their spirit!
The Victoria Nature School programs are grounded in a child-led, inquiry-based philosophy and create an environment where play, exploration, music and movement, and creative self-expression emerge to create a happy and vibrant learning community. It is within this foundation that developmentally-appropriate early literacy and numeracy skills will be explored. Children will also experience the daily practice of mindfulness and gratitude through activities such as 'thank-yous' before snacks, reflections, meditation, and yoga.
What makes the Victoria Nature School unique is the forest and beach location and that the school and non-profit were started by parent volunteers. The Victoria Nature School is currently in its 6th year running; has qualified forest school practitioners and ECE's that have been with the school since the beginning.
Exploring Literacy Outside!
The educators at the Victoria Nature School provides rich learning environments for children creating a strong literacy foundation by using Singing English song-games and techniques. These activities help create a strong foundation for reading and writing through the children's exploration of the relationship between sound and symbols. These pre-literacy activities are learned through song-games, where the children move and sing, internalizing the structure of our spoken language. Once the songs are well-known, the teacher introduces techniques that help take the student's oral understanding of the song to fun pre-reading and writing activities; all which can be done outside! To learn more about Singing English and to watch a free video lesson, visit www.singingenglish.com.
Instilling responsibility in our children is vital to forging a more sustainable and respectful living philosophy. Children who recognize the connection between themselves and nature will be inspired to be good stewards of our planet. Providing a safe, nurturing outdoor learning environment is fundamental in early childhood development to promote healthy, confident, empathetic and happy children. Being outside creates a strong community among children by providing meaningful opportunities for collaboration. We also provide time and space for children to reflect quietly on their experiences.
Victoria Nature School Programs
The Victoria Nature School Programs, located at Mt. Douglas Park (map), offer unique forest and beach learning environments combined with a child-directed, play-based learning philosophy and experienced educators trained as forest school practitioners by Forest School Canada. The result is a passionate primary learning community that promotes child-directed playful exploration, physical activity, developmentally appropriate literacy, art and music, and a deep understanding of nature and sustainability all taking place in one of the most magical forest and beach settings the Victoria area has to offer.
Inspiring our Nature School:
“The opportunity for children to play and learn in local natural settings with wise and skilled early learning educators who understand the power of child-directed learning and how this can contribute to a more sustainable world” – Child & Nature Alliance of Canada
Forest School, Carpridge Learning Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Forest Kindergarten – UK –a type of preschool education for children between the ages of three and six that is held almost exclusively outdoors. Whatever the weather, children are encouraged to play, explore and learn in a forest or natural environment. Adult supervision is meant to assist rather than lead. There are now more than 700 Waldkindergärten (forest nurseries) in Germany (2008)
Reggio Emilia Approach –a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.