Originally posted on September 28, 2016
Photo by Suzanne Serwatuk - Fresh Air Learning year one
When a small group of interested parents and community members converged to create Fresh Air Learning in the fall of 2010, there were few forest school programs in Metro Vancouver. We wanted to create a program for our children to attend, and within the year, we did!
Since our programs began, there has been a delightful proliferation of forest schools in the Metro Vancouver area and far beyond. We love to see this idea grow. From preschools and elementary schools that integrate playful outdoor learning into their classes to outdoor programs that run out of urban parks, there are now so many options for children to connect with their local places.
That means it's time to talk. After all, we have so much to talk about. From child care licensing to the careful use of public spaces, from risk assessment to our needs for professional development, we have a lot to talk about to ensure that our programs work well now and far into the future.
We also need to talk about opportunities. Are you looking for a place to run a forest school? Do you feel inspired to co-create a full time outdoor child care or a full time outdoor elementary school? There are many people working on initiatives like these and many more who would be enthusiastic to contribute time, land, and organizing abilities.
It's time we got together to discuss the needs, gaps, and opportunities for forest school in the Metro Vancouver area.
Why Metro Vancouver, you might ask? There are so many programs here that we thought we'd begin in this area, but we don't need to stop there. Our goal is to begin with a conversation and see what networks develop.
This fall, we may contact you to see if you'd be interested in joining that conversation. Please feel free to contact us to express your interest as well. We're particularly looking for those who are involved in forest school right now or have a big passion to bring to the table - whether it's a desire to create a program or something entirely different. We'll begin with a larger-scale conversation on a weekend in late winter, and we'll see what networks emerge from there.
Thank you so much to the Vancouver Foundation whose funding has allowed us to coordinate this important work.
Interested? Contact our program director Tricia Edgar at tricia(at)freshairlearning(dot)org.