When a Junkyard Becomes Beautiful: What it’s like to play and teach with BIG loose parts

By Carrie Komesch We know that loose parts support children in open-ended imaginative play and connection with one another. When one thinks of forest school, it’s easy to envision a pleasantly weathered mud kitchen, or a pile of wicker baskets warming in the sun, waiting to be filled with acorns and joy. But what aboutContinue reading “When a Junkyard Becomes Beautiful: What it’s like to play and teach with BIG loose parts”

The Creek and Emergent Science: Giving students agency to define and guide their own scientific thinking

By Carrie Komesch Water has an inherent draw to it, as a background feature on the landscape, as an acoustic presence, and as a loose part in play. But what about water as a vessel for giving children agency to define and guide their own scientific learning? Biological sampling emerged as a natural extension ofContinue reading “The Creek and Emergent Science: Giving students agency to define and guide their own scientific thinking”

The Out to Play Walking School Bus: A reflection on the value of playful work

By Carrie Komesch The bridge crossing over the creek and subsequent sharp turns in the pathway are some of the most challenging places to maneuver the sled on the commute in or out. The Out to Play Walking School Bus is a phenomenon rooted in necessity, or at least convenience. As educators, we walk theContinue reading “The Out to Play Walking School Bus: A reflection on the value of playful work”

Project-based learning for older children in an emergent, inquiry-driven pedagogy

By Carrie Komesch As educators who are committed to a child-centred and emergent pedagogy, we are constantly challenging ourselves to find a balance between stepping back and trusting in the learning inherent in play, versus stepping in and adding a provocation.  Our own foray into offering project-based learning at Out to Play has been aContinue reading “Project-based learning for older children in an emergent, inquiry-driven pedagogy”

Reflecting on the Forest and Nature School Approach

 By Sonja Lukassen A couple of years ago I was moving tables with a peer after shifting them to clean up a spill. I asked them what their plan was. “Where should we put this one?” I asked.  “It’s usually over here,” they responded.  “Is that where we’re going to put it now?” I asked. Continue reading “Reflecting on the Forest and Nature School Approach”

How we stay Safe and Kind while Playing on Ice

By Sonja Lukassen Playing with, on and near ice is incredibly inviting. Science and magic combine to offer a type of play that only happens outside when it’s cold- the conversion of life-giving splashy water into crystal, slippery, crunchy, slidey wondrous ice. It can feel tricky to say yes to playing on ice. If itContinue reading “How we stay Safe and Kind while Playing on Ice”

Telling Stories Together

By Sonja Lukassen Stories swirl around us all of the time- our own, those of our neighbours and friends, Stories from the land, the creatures, the weather. As long as we are ready to listen, the Stories come, and with them are often timely, meaningful lessons, too. I was recently remembering the process I’ve goneContinue reading “Telling Stories Together”

Embracing the Wonders of Winter

By Sonja Lukassen A fun truth about being a Forest and Nature School Educator is that people are curious about what that means. After explaining the basics to someone, there are a few questions that reliably emerge.  All of these questions have simple answers, though these answers feel anything but simple when being faced andContinue reading “Embracing the Wonders of Winter”