Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

Transitioning Your Class To A Nature Program

I have had many requests for first steps in organizing your nature program for outdoor learning. 

I begin almost immediately with my outdoor program on the school site. For some of you this may be where your nature program takes place all year but for others they will be travelling to a forest or seashore for their outdoor program.

Den made by Kindergarten children

Adapted from my book,

.   Outside Our Window: developing a primary program

The first step that I take is to inform parents usually with a meeting but this year it will be either a video or letter which walks them through a typical outdoor morning and attempts to answer any questions that they may have. Our school already has a offsite form which parents sign giving me permission to go offsite within 2 kilometres without additional forms being signed. I always send a email on Sunday with my planned offsite schedule so that they know where their child is. I also sign out at the office so that the office is aware of our outdoor location (including those first weeks on the school field).

After the first transition week of Kindergarten I move part of the morning program to our school yard and we use the same frameworks that I would use offsite. The parents have been asked to send the children to school dressed for the outdoor program.
  1. walk and talk - children walk with a peer and chat together during the walk
  2. sharing circle - the children each have an opportunity to share something personal
  3. storytelling & songs
  4. wide area game
  5. snack if hungry
  6. read aloud (for children who do not snack)
  7. exploration (field play not playground)
  8. math, literacy or science activity
  9. debrief
  10. walk and talk- the children walk with the same peer and chat together during the walk as we return to the classroom.
I do this each day as we are getting to know each other. When I see that they know their job we have our first visit to the forest. It does not take very long for the children to learn the frameworks and they are so excited to spend their mornings in the forest. I always make sure that the first math/literacy or science activity is short and fun. I also wanted to mention that if children are hungry during exploration they are welcome to have a snack.

I usually bring a science and art kit with me the first weeks in the forest so that the children can explore the elements, sketch and look closely at nature.

I hope that this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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