After you have registered for an Outdoor School program at Ignited Learning Centre, we would encourage you to do the following
– Inform your child’s classroom teacher that they will be absent every (ex.Friday) to attend Outdoor School.
– Give them the following sheet: Classroom Teacher Communication Sheet
– Inform the secretary or head office admin about your child’s pre-determined absences and that they are attending an alternative learning program on those days.

Risky Play includes six specific characteristics: playing at great heights, at speed, with dangerous tools, near dangerous elements, with rough and tumble, having the opportunity to get lost/disappear. It was first explained by a Norwegian researcher in their forest and nature school programs. These elements help children navigate their own risks and have been shown to include many benefits as children learn to navigate their environment and their corresponding actions and decisions. The concept of risky play seems counterintuitive to the traditional approach to injury prevention; however, the current approach may have unintended and negative consequences for physical inactivity and general health outcomes.

We do not assess students based on the Ontario Curriculum specific to a child’s grade. There are no set times for math, science, literacy etc., instead they are woven throughout the day.

Instead of ‘covering’ curriculum, we ‘UNcover’ parts of it! We follow the lead of the child as they become inspired by the environment and nature around them. Sometimes the educators provide provocations, which are based on prior student interest. Their learning can take them in many directions that were not planned-for but are facilitated in the moment. It is a unique emergent learning process, as we inherently view children as curious and capable to learn what and how they prefer to learn.

Students began asking questions about shelters and trying to build some out of sticks and branches. During that session or the following, some rope and a book about shelter building is laid out to help continue their learning journey about shelters.

A child may gravitate towards the new book, read it, ask to have it read to them, make a goal to build their own shelter and begin to think through ‘curriculum strands’ including measurement, creativity, problem solving, physical and skill ability, communication, cooperation, teamwork and more! They don’t see it as something they are being taught, but rather something they are learning and more importantly experiencing, for themselves.

This is where the educator facilitates and encourages the learning by asking probing questions, such as “How tall will your shelter be? How many people do you want to fit inside? What will you build it out of? What could you use the rope for? Are there any tools that will help you with this project? Have you made a plan? How can you make it strong? Does it need to be strong? Why or why not?”

This type of learning opportunity benefits their thinking processes, problem solving, and confidence during their time outside. Students may also reach for goals and curriculum strands that are beyond their current grade. We encourage all streams and avenues of learning, because we are not restricted by assessment of specific learning expectations. The mixed aged environment also provides the sharing of learning from student to student. For example, the older student might read to the younger student who still does not know how to read.

** example taken from Tiny Forest Academy

If a child is encouraged to spend the day outside, but starts to sweat, gets wet, has cold fingers and toes, and is generally uncomfortable, they will start to associate that feeling with their experience in nature. It is possible to spend an entire day outside in Canadian weather and enjoy every minute of it, but only when some basic layering and quality of clothing rules are applied. Upon registration, you will be sent a comprehensive gear and layering list. Also check out our Gear Guide on our website and our facebook gear guide swap QR code for help in getting started.
Outdoor School is an alternative way of learning, therefore the outcomes and methods are alternative as well. Outdoor school provides space and time to learn at their own pace and in their own creative way. We use the natural environment to peak their curiosity and where necessary, we set out resources or tools to aid in facilitating that learning journey. We provide families who are enrolled, access to learning stories throughout the term to highlight video and photo footage of the learning that has been taking place through conversations, observations and products. There are also opportunities for parents to participate in closing community circles, and different community events such as our Winter Solstice Event.

Our programs have a home base facility at Sharon Hope United Church, which is equipped with a community garden, old growth trees, an outdoor field and gated playscape, 2 indoor classrooms, a kitchen and a gym.

Our programs will also be operating hands on forest learning in the Rogers Conservation Area, and hands on farm learning at Sharon Creek Organic Farm. Both of these facilities are within walking distance, through the trails and side streets from our home base facility.

There may be some days where parents are asked in advance to drop off their children at one of these secondary locations. Most drop offs and pickups will be happening at our home base facility in Sharon.