On January 29th we had a parent-info session to inform the community that Riverview Ashland Child Care Inc. is working to create a new part-time (9:00 am- 12:00pm) Forest Nursery Program to open in September 2024.
This blog post is an overview of what we shared during our presentation and we have summarized the questions and responses. If you review the post but still have questions please feel free to reach out in an email.
Please watch this website for an announcement, this spring, about our Forest School session for parents- which will be a hands on opportunity for folks to experience a day in forest school.
A half-day Forest Nursery School for children ages 3-5 (Born 2019-2020). The goal of the program is to spend the majority of our time outside (approx. 95%) and take full advantage of the wonderful green spaces in our Riverview Neighborhood.
This program will be a licensed program with trained Early Childhood Educators and Forest School Practitioners facilitating.
8:50-9:00 Arrival and Gathering
9:00-9:20 Morning Circle
9:20-11:50 Play on the land
11:50-12:00 Closing Stories
Year 1: September 4- July 18
Closed all Inservice Days, Dec 23-Jan 13th, March 24-April 28th
Year 2: August 18-July 17
Closed all Inservice Days, 3 week winter break and 2 week spring break
as this program is in development this schedule is subject to change
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Forest School/Forest Nursery?
A forest and/or nature school follows forest school principles. You can find them on the Child & Nature Network Canada's website here.
What are the proposed operating hours of the program?
9:00-12:00 Monday to Friday, Closed all Inservice days, 3 weeks winter break, 2 weeks spring break and 4 weeks summer break.
Year 1- September 4-July 18th
Year 2- August 18- July 17th
What age children will you accept?
For the 2024-25 year, children born in 2019 and 2020 are eligible.
The program is for children turning 4 or 5 by the end of December.
Will this program provide full day care?
No - this is a part-time program best suited to families who are looking for socialization and early learning opportunities for their children
Will there be before and after school care?
Not at this time
Will there be a walking program to Ecole Riverview?
Not at this time
What will the Fees be?
Once we have achieved funding- as a licensed nursery school in Manitoba the fees would be $5.00/day/child. Without funding fees will be closer to $20.00/day/child.
You have described a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, does the program have a relationship with an Elder?
We do not currently have a relationship with an Elder but are in the process of reaching out. Please check back for updates as our program planning progresses. We aim to work with indigenous knowledge keepers who bring expertise in Early Childhood Education, Forest School and our specific place. Our goal is to have these teachers join our classroom to play and share, and also for Educator professional development.
Will the children go inside in inclement weather?
The program will be a primarily outdoor program- 95% of the time. We do have a licensed indoor space to use if the weather is hazardous: extreme wind, wildfire smoke, tornado warning, lightening, extreme ice, etc.
We have qualified, experienced educators, in a low-ratio environment who will be outside with the children and able to closely monitor their well-being and ensure that children are thriving in the weather conditions. It will be their judgement call- in communication with parents to decide when it is necessary to come indoors.
The educators will have the training and tools available to mitigate weather conditions using tarps, creating shelters, risk/benefit assessments and by adjusting the pace of play.
It is our goal to help the children grow into people who can appreciate the outdoors despite inclement weather, with the skill to mitigate and learn the difference between unpleasant and unsafe weather.
This video from Vermont is very long but has a great breakdown of how a Forest School Practitioner would plan to keep children warm and safe during long periods outside in the winter.
Where will the children go to the bathroom?
Children should get into the routine of using the toilet before leaving home.
While they are at the forest school location we will have a simple shelter, a luggable loo and a tippy tap for hand washing. When roaming we will use a combination of wipes and hand sanitizer as necessary.
Once the children are adjusted to the schedule, 4-5 year olds typically can go without using the toilet for the morning.
How will this program prepare children for school?
The Forest Nursery, like our existing programs, follows a play-based pedagogy. We know that deep, open-ended play is the most important and appropriate learning for children in the early years. Through play, children develop their motor, problem solving, relationship building and language skills. They learn about themselves and their peers, what they are capable of and to trust themselves. In this way, we create a solid foundation for structured learning in school later on.
From Riverview Ashland Childcare’s Policy Manual:
“Care is at the very centre of our practice. By attending to the needs of the whole child, they are free to attend to their own work: deep, open-ended play. Children possess an irrepressible urge to learn about the world around them, and can do so when they feel secure, loved, and respected.
We know children to be curious, capable, active, trustworthy and full of wonder. We recognise the developmental need, fundamental right, and inherent good of unstructured play for every child. Our care and environments allow children to play and explore independently with indirect guidance from caring educators.”
Should I remove my child from the other waitlist
You can have your child one both waitlists
Will adding my child’s name remove me from the full time preschool waitlist?
What will my seniority date be for the waitlist?
Families whose child is on our original waitlist will have seniority according to the date that they originally joined either waitlist
Where do I find the Forest Nursery waitlist?
The Forest Nursery waitlist is located at the bottom of the Programs page here.
Is the program open to anyone?
Anyone may join the waitlist, however in keeping with our existing policies priority is given to families who live in the Riverview neighborhood and whose children will be attending Ecole Riverview School.
How can I find out more information about Forest School?
If you visit the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada website both the About Forest School and Thrive Outside tabs contain relevant information.
This video gives a nice overview of Forest & Nature Schools in Canada
What is Risky Play?
We love this Nature of Things article and documentary on Risky Play
Also- check out this position paper on risky play courtesy of the Canadian Pediatric Society.