“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth.
In addition to a more affordable range of housing at Elkington Forest, one of the keys to the increase in density that we recently were granted by the CVRD is the addition of an elementary/nursery school operation, which would be an on-site nature-based kindergarten and primary school.
We are very excited by the ecologically minded educators who have prodded us to add nature-oriented education to the conservation community model. Studies have shown that ‘wild nature’ participation such as hiking and playing the forest, increase pro-environmental behavious.
A few of the benefits of an interactive, outdoor education program are healthy child and cognitive development, fitness, mental health, self-discpline and environmental citizenship.
Recently, Dr. Enid Elliot, Camosun College Instructor and University of Victoria adjunct professor, spoke at the 10th Annual Robert Batement Lecture about the two-year pilot program she launched in 2012 at Sangster Elementary School in Sooke, B.C and situated in the natural forest lands at Royal Roads University.
According to the Royal Roads website, “Nature Kindergarten engages children to connect deeply with nature through play, experience the environment as a co-teacher, learn collaboratively as part of an empathetic community and experience traditional and local ways of knowing.”
For a comprehensive overview and links to research finding, please visit the Sooke School District website.
Elkington Forest fully supports this empathetic and traditional approach to learning in nature and its integration into the conservation community model.
Stay tuned for more information about dates, times, curriculum and school formats. It promises to be an incredible journey for young minds.
Photo: Nature Kindgergarten School District 62