Forest schools encourage outdoor learning and provide an alternative to traditional schooling. (Contributed)

Forest schools encourage outdoor learning and provide an alternative to traditional schooling. (Contributed)

Budding Minds brings forest school to Golden

The forest school will officially be welcoming students come fall, with registration currently open

Budding Minds, a Golden-based forest school, has opened applications and is ready to welcome students to the outdoors for the scholastic year of 2021-22.

Forest Schools are a child-centre holistic alternative to traditional schooling that uses the outdoors as a classroom. Increasingly, they have become popular in North America as teachers use nature to help teach kids.

According to the Budding Minds website, they seek to foster children’s growth and development through instilling a love of playing and learning in an outdoor environment, while nurturing a deep sense of wonder about the natural world that surrounds us.

“We have the environment, we have the town, we have the space and the place to be able to just show kids and teach them in a commercial of space like a regular school,” said Sara Recoskie, one of the driving minds behind the school.

“It teaches kids independence and resilience, courage and bravery. Teaching kids to be outside and showing them that it’s okay, and that it’s a good place in a good space to learn and to love, is a valuable tool.”

Brittany Verbeek, another of the ‘adventurers’ leading the charge for the school, says it’s been a team effort to bring the school to fruition and that they are excited to bring this program to the community of Golden.

“We have a shared vision of offering this to the community of Golden and now more than ever, because of the pandemic and just the need for kids to stay healthy and be immersed in nature, it just seemed like a no brainer,” she said.

“We’re just excited to have it get going.”

READ MORE: Outdoor education project takes Golden’s students into nature

Both Verbeek and Recoskie are in the process of becoming certified as forest school practitioners and have experience with both the outdoors and childcare.

Both say it’s a great alternative, as it helps teach physical literacy and independence as kids learn to dress themselves and prepare to be outside all day.

“You can do anything you can inside, outside, read a back, talking stories, you can teach kids math with pine cones,” said Verbeek.

“All that learning and development that you can get inside, you get outside in our program. This empowers children, increasing self-awareness and self-confidence, building resiliency and enhancing physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. And, best of all, children get so much enjoyment out of it.”

The program will be for children aged 3-5 during regular school hours, with an after-school program available for two hours at the conclusion of the school day for kids aged 5-9. Both programs will run September through June and will operate on the same calendar as traditional schools in Golden.

The day program will be offered in three sessions, varying from 10-15 weeks in length and will costs between $1,000-$1,500. The after-school program will run for a full 38 weeks and cost $3,900.

Registration is open at buddingmindsdiscovery.com, as well as more information on the programs.

Education