• Tricia Edgar

A Community of Place-Based Learning

When our children are small, their world is about developing close relationships with those who nurture them. One of those close relationships should be with the places where they live and play.

From the beginning, Fresh Air Learning has considered forest school to be a movement that belongs to everyone. It’s a natural way to develop long-term relationships to this land.

There are thousands of preschool and school-aged children in Metro Vancouver.

What if they all had the opportunity to play and explore in their local ecosystems and understand those places more deeply? What would happen to those children and families, and how would this change the culture of our city and our world?

We really, truly can’t do this on our own – and why would we?

Every outdoor program is slightly different animal. Some run out of preschools and day cares, others are part of elementary schools, and still others have a park as their home base. They’re inspired by Waldorf, integrated into Montessori schools, or follow an unschooling philosophy. Each program finds its niche, whether that’s a connection to a specific place, a focus on a certain age group, a connection to a school or church, or a unique approach toward outdoor learning.

We need to know who’s around us in order to best find our niche and know how we can best support and integrate ourselves with others in our community. That’s where our April dialogue comes in.

On April 1st, we’re inviting facilitators, educators, parents, and other place-based learning enthusiasts to a gathering of like minds, with the goal of discussing some of the emerging issues that impact our field.

Before April, we’ll be spending some quality time with each other in online discussions as well, answering questions such as:

How do we expand opportunities for people to connect with place in a deep and meaningful way, given the challenges of operating in an urban environment?

How do we interact with places in a way that allows us to become long-term stewards of those places?

How can we run our programs in a way that cultivates risky play but also ensures that children are safe?

It’s a time for movements, and movements start with building relationships. We’d like to invite you to be in relationship and dialogue with us as we explore these topics and many others together.


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