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

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Union Bay residents concerned about logging within Langley Lake watershed

Residents have been writing to the province, requesting it put a temporary halt to planned activity

Comox skier Cassie Sharpe wins World Cup gold medal in halfpipe

Island product peaking just in time for Olympics

Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society grand opening Sunday

The Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society has been in the Comox Valley for… Continue reading

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

VIDEO: Comox Valley Glacier Kings suffer heavy defeat to Oceanside Generals

The Comox Valley Glacier King’s poor start to 2018 continued on Jan.… Continue reading

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read