Educators and child care workers came from across Western Canada to participate in the course. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Cumberland nature-based preschool hosts forest practitioner course

Twenty education and child care practitioners from across Western Canada were in the Comox Valley last week for a five-day course focusing on how to implement nature-based learning into educational programs.

The Child Nature Alliance of Canada — a non-profit organization based out of Ottawa — puts on the Forest Practitioners course throughout the country. The course brings educators together to learn about nature-inspired education and how it can benefit young children.

Nature-based learning differs from traditional learning in that students primarily learn and play outdoors in environments such as forests or beaches, rather than in classrooms.

The course took place at the Coal Creek Historic Park near Cumberland from Dec. 8–12. Participants came from across Vancouver Island, mainland B.C., Alberta, and even as far away as the Northwest Territories to take part.

“We’re taking 20 educators of various backgrounds and experience levels and we are exploring what it means to operate a forest nature school from the perspective of either school-based programming or early childhood care,” said course facilitator and assessor Chris Filler.

“We’re learning from each other, we’re learning from our 20 folks here and their vast backgrounds of experience.”

Helping out with facilitating the course was the Hand-in-Hand Early Years Nature Education Program — a preschool in the Comox Valley and Campbell River that takes an inquiry-based approach to learning about nature.

Throughout the five days, the 20 participants observed children enrolled in the Hand-in-Hand program, which is available for 2–5-year-olds in the Comox Valley.

Read More: Cumberland’s Coal Creek provides the classroom.

Hand-in-hand program co-ordinator Jarrett Krentzel believes the benefits of nature-based education are endless for young children.

“One of the major benefits, not just from a personal standpoint but from a community standpoint, is that they become stewards of this land. The forest, the beaches, and the natural environment all benefit from them wanting to care for the space they are playing in and are connected to,” he said.

Hand-in-Hand also has a working relationship with the Cumberland Community School, which has offered an optional nature-based learning program for K–2 students for the last three years.

“All students benefit from exposure to nature and place-based education, so it is fantastic to see so many dedicated educators embracing outdoor pedagogy and building a foundation to better incorporate it into their practice,” said Cumberland Community School principal Dave Mayert.

Three Cumberland school teachers were among the 20 registered in the Forest Practitioners course last week, which also has a year-long distance learning commitment.

“We are excited about all the learning and connections these teachers will bring back from the course to share with the rest of our staff and the student learning that will follow,” said Mayert.

Just Posted

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

Comox Valley chamber celebrating its centennial in style

Collaboration key to one hundred years of business advocacy

Courtenay’s Public Works inspector cycling the sidewalks in search of trip hazards

Courtenay is on a roll with sidewalk inspections, using two wheels and… Continue reading

Ammonia leak triggers evacuation of the Comox Valley Sports Centre

The centre was evacuated for just over an hour Thursday evening while crews contained the leak

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Vandals target North Island-Powell River NDP candidate’s office in Comox with swastikas, graffiti

Rachel Blaney’s Comox office has been vandalized with swastikas and tagging overnight Friday.

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

Most Read