Offering child-centred, curiosity-led learning and connection through play on the land
Out to Play offers Forest and Nature School summer camp weeks for children ages 4-10 and 8-12 years old.
A Summer Day at Out to Play
Each day at Out to Play follows a similar rhythm and unfolds in a unique way guided by the children’s play. Drop-off happens between 9am and 10 am, and children are invited by their educators to play until its time for circle, snack and story.
After the morning story, the children prepare to hike out. They’ll use the bathroom and pack their backpacks. The hike is normally a short one but we meander, pause to look at flowers, trees and creatures and sometimes stop in the shade for a drink. When the children arrive to their play space they’ll hear the safety guidelines and then settle into play.
Out on the land we’ll set-up slacklines, a reading nook and art supplies. Children may be drawn into these invitations or they’ll create their own play. Kitchens and shops are often invented, and opened and customers invited in. Some children like to run and play tag. Some like hiding games and some like to build fairy villages. The educators move between them, supporting play and helping children navigate challenges that might arise.
Children lunch out on the land through almost all weather. Educators re-apply their sunscreen and bug spray, and they return to play for a while before hiking back for closing circle and pick-up time.
All Out to Play programs are child-centred, play-based, curiosity-led and educator supported. We support risky play as co-conspirators, through collaborative dialogue and a thorough risk-benefit assessment process. Our staff are experienced, playful and intuitive facilitators with diverse backgrounds including Forest and Nature School practitioners, qualified teachers, child and youth workers and/or early childhood educators.
Out to Play programs are outside through all kinds of weather. The shelters are warmed with a woodstove through the wet and cold days, and offer a space to warm up, dry off or change clothes before heading out to play again.
We know to be on the land and engaged in play supports children’s physical and mental health. Out to Play programs are following pandemic protocols established by Ottawa Public Health. Regular sanitation protocols, frequent handwashing, physical distancing and all children and adults in masks ensure that we are able to offer a comforting and safer program.
A relationship with the land through play
Out to Play Farm and Forest School uses an Eco Value-Impact Assessment to manage our impact on the land while holding space for children to build a life-long relationship with the natural world through play and place-based learning. Environmental preservation and education is embedded in all aspects of our work, from program design to every story told, and every interaction with the land and creatures.
Interested in registration?
Families in our season-long school program will have advance registration options, with registration open to the public shortly after. The Summer 2023 locations are still being confirmed and registration dates will be announced soon. In the meanwhile, learn about our program through through the Summer Parent Handbook.