Forest & Nature Camp
Campers 4-12 years old.
Forest & Nature Camp – Outdoor Education, exploring together!
The Pawsitively Pets Forest & Nature Camp is available at our Leaside & Swansea locations. The programs meet at our main camp location, but Leaside spends most of the day in Sunnybrook and Serena Gundy and our Swansea site spends most of the day in High Park. Both programs have access to indoor space at our main locations in the event of extreme weather. This program allows our outdoor enthusiasts to experience the outdoors, animals and nature hands-on every day. The programs take place outside – rain or shine.
All of our programs are created with the concept of experiential learning, exploring our curiosity for nature and the natural world. Working with our experienced team of outdoor educators children will connect with nature and living things, spending their entire day outside exploring the world around them as well as having the opportunity to meet many of the Pawsitively Pets animals.
“Children and youth should have the opportunity to play and learn in forests, parks, meadows, and mud puddles” (Outdoor Play Canada, 2018).
Outdoor learning at Pawsitively Pets embraces pawsitivity and connection. Our outdoor exploration will strengthen and build upon our understanding of these values.
Pawsitivity and connection with ourselves – campers will be encouraged and reminded to check in with themselves, asking questions like, how am I feeling? If I’m thirsty, should I be getting out my water bottle and having a drink of water? If I’m too warm, should I take off my jacket and keep it safely in my backpack until I need it again? Is what I am doing making me feel happy and secure? Should I tell my teacher that I need a washroom break?
Pawsitivity and connection with others – Relationship building is invaluable for every child and everyone. A connectedness to others and contributing as a group and a community enhances children and families’ sense of belonging (Ministry of Education, 2014). Inclusivity is paramount. Every child will be welcomed, included, listened to, and appreciated for their viewpoint and individuality. We will be exploring and learning together.
Pawsitivity and connection with nature – As we respect ourselves and others, so too we respect nature. Kindness and gratitude to nature is an essential element of outdoor learning. Each day we meet, we will strive to become responsible and exceptional stewards of our environment; learning about and taking good care of the plants, trees and animals around us.
COVID-19 Safety: Distancing – We will have myriad fun activities to support children visualizing what distancing with their classmates looks like outside. On rainy days, umbrellas can be useful as a distancing reminder!
Frequent hand sanitizing – before and after eating, before and after using the washroom, after handling any communal materials.
Personal items, including food and sunscreen, will not be shared in order to avoid germ transfer.
If an activity involves a period of sustained closeness between children, that experience will be a “masks on” activity.
Parents/Guardians, please be mindful of keeping physical distance at drop-off and pick-up times.
If your child or someone in your household is sick, please keep your child home.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” -Prominent fell walker and outdoor writer, Alfred Wainwright
We will be outside each day, exploring all manner of the outdoor environment. The ground will be our table and chairs, our feet will travel through grass and rocks and dirt and mud, our hands will explore leaves and sticks and trees and pine cones and mini-beasts and more!
Here are some tips about dressing your child for the weather:
- Check the weather forecast the night before!
- Waterproof boots or close-toed, comfortable shoes for non-rainy days.
- Rain jacket, splash pants (an umbrella serves two purposes on a rainy day: shelter from the rain as well as a social distancing visual!)
- Sun hat (remember to apply sunscreen on those sunny days!)
Backpacks and what to pack
Students are responsible for carrying their own backpacks, so weight and comfort are important considerations. Don’t worry! …not only will we be taking frequent breaks throughout our adventuring each day, staff will be responsible for pulling a trolley which will be used exclusively for student’s lunchboxes.
Backpacks should include:
- A change of clothes (extra shirt, shorts/pants, underpants, socks
- Easy-to-open snacks (nut-free and portable)
- 500ml. filled water bottle (or more)
- Packed lunch and snacks
- Face mask, hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes, sunscreen (weather dependent)
If outdoor learning is a new experience for you, and you have more questions and would like to speak to someone please don’t hesitate to contact the office at 416 901 4776 and ask to speak to Jennifer.
Staff/Leader to camper ratio for Forest & Nature Camp is 1 staff to 6 campers.
Campers must be 4 years old as of the first day of camp to register for this program. Campers will be split into like age groups. At times older campers will take on leadership roles to help younger campers accomplish tasks.
All participants receive a t-shirt with their registration.
CLICK HERE to register.