A Typical Day at Nature School
A day at forest school should excite every sense, breathe life into learning, inspire gratitude, and leave eyes sparkling. The sequence of events in a typical day aims to be in harmony with aspects of human nature.
On arrival, mentors welcome students with a game and nature table, allowing us to meet them where they are and with whatever energy they bring that day. A simple game to get moving, playing, and laughing in the fresh air sets the tone for the day. A nature table filled with field guides, nature finds, and creations allows observations to form and questions to develop. Fifteen minutes after sign-in, backpacks are on as we set off to one of our spots in the forest.
A morning game is introduced with everyone together, transforming ourselves into forest creatures with an exciting mission or challenge and using our awareness skills to accomplish the task! When the game ends, the morning circle begins where we have a chance to smell the scent of the season, listen to the wind, feel the sun filtering through the trees, and notice our surroundings. The circle is a dynamic piece that is always changing, ranging from singing a nature song to sharing gratitude. After circle, it’s time to grab a snack and hear a story from one of our mentors, ranging from a personal survival story to folk tales and fables that carry the theme from the 8 Shields Model.
The remainder of the day is spent in small group with one instructor for a group of seven students. The instructors always bring specific pieces for the day, but we recognize the opportunities that come by and leave room for flexibility and spontaneity. There’s lots to adapt to as we wander with curiosity and find neat things that get each individuals’ creative ideas flowing! As mentors, we are fellow discoverers and fellow questioners. We wait for a true desire to learn about something that naturally surfaces. In general, we spend half the time focusing on what we are working on at that time (a carving or crafting project, a skills-based game/activity, etc.) and the other half following the inspiration from our surroundings.
After a full day, the small groups come together for a closing circle, which involves sharing stories from the day and a possible take-home challenge to complete by the next forest day! And don’t forget to check your email for a story of the day from our mentors! We love to share the awesome highlights and possible discussion points to have with your child to support further integrating and reflecting upon the day and experience.