Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's Forest Program at PESCS page

Forest Program at PESCS

Forest Program at PESCS
Posted on 12/20/2019
Forest Program at PESCS

The sounds and sights of learning appear rather different in the Forest Program at Port Elgin-Saugeen Central School.

This program is a student directed learning opportunity for kids to explore, play, and engage with nature while learning. We walk down to a natural area twice a week at the end of the day to see what we can learn. Literacy might look like a collaborative story being built, or a rhyme circle, or a song. Math looks like measuring water depth with a stick, or making a pattern with a popcorn and cranberry string (for the birds). Science looks like buoyancy experiments, structure building, and hypotheses about ice formation. Phys. ed. is happening all the time while balancing on trees, doing yoga, climbing hills, and ducking vines. All of this learning happens organically as students stumble upon these ideas, and the teacher observes and helps support the learning. Most recently, we have begun to celebrate the holidays by decorating an edible holiday tree for the birds with oranges, pinecones, birdseed, WowButter, and popcorn/cranberry strands.

Our forest program consists of five students and one teacher. Risky play is encouraged and supported with the help of the educator. Student ideas are embraced, and are the foundation for all of the learning we do. Interesting finds are encouraged and shared in our “Nature Museum.” Fun activities and “best day ever” entries are logged in student journals.

As an educator, I have been honoured and excited to witness the personal growth in confidence, social skills, and overall happiness at school for the students I work with, particularly ones who might not thrive in a traditional classroom setting. I love this program and hope my children will one day be able to partake in something similar.

Submitted by Kirby Palmer, Behaviour Support Teacher
Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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