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

UPDATED: Comox Valley man killed in Peru

A Canadian man killed in Peru has been identified by the Peruvian… Continue reading

Celebrate Youth Week at The LINC

Special week features hockey tourney, skate jam

Canadian mini-series set to shoot in the Comox Valley

St. Joseph’s General Hospital will soon be shining brightly on the small… Continue reading

RCMP investigate sexual assault in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating a reported sexual assault at Sandwick… Continue reading

Comox Strathcona Waste Management board approves tour of Nova Scotia advanced recycling plant

Three CVRD representatives will tour Sustane Tech. plant while in Halifax for FCM conference

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Saskatchewan introduces law to allow control of oil, gas exports

The Prairie province has already said it is supporting Alberta in a dispute with B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline

Hold and secure Monday morning at Arden Elementary

On Monday morning, Arden Elementary implemented a hold and secure security measure… Continue reading

Renewed plea for answers in 40-year-old B.C. cold case

The family of Lawrence Wellington Allard is hoping a private reward will get them some closure

UPDATED: Arrest made after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Police are not saying what is the extent of injuries yet

B.C. farmland values grew at slower rate in 2017: report

Vancouver Island saw the highest growth in the province

Lt. Governor back in the saddle, with a legacy of land stewardship

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

New Comox Valley buildings earn honours at VIREB awards ceremony

Three commercial buildings in the Comox Valley earned honours last week at… Continue reading

Most Read