Forest School is an alternative learning centre that
believes learning can be a wondrous adventure, and that people learn best
by doing. The programs offered are hands-on, and experiential in nature.
They combine freedom with form and take place both indoors and outdoors.
The Forest School facilitates learning opportunities that suit the
developmental age of the students-- valuing play, exploration, creative
expression and naturally including things like numeracy and literacy. The
classes are mixed age and small in size. There is no testing or grading.
The Forest School curriculum is loosely based on Waldorf philosophy.
It is largely directed by the children’s interests and what is going on in
their lives and that of the natural environment. It is grounded in a
desire to nurture peaceful, creative, intelligent people with an ethic of
environmental and social responsibility.
> more on curriculum
The Students of the Forest School are many things-- creative
and imaginative, caring and compassionate, independent, willful,
intelligent and inspiring. Each brings with them a unique view of the
world. All are searching to learn, to be heard and understood, and to
define their place in the natural order of things.
of the Forest School are an eclectic collection of people who are looking
for learning alternatives. Many are home schooling families, and some are
attending the Forest School as a means of augmenting their children’s
public school experiences.
of the Forest School share a love of children, a
passion for their work and a faith in human potential. The staff
comes with varied educational backgrounds and life experiences. They
guide and support learners in exploring their interests; initiate
interesting quests and invite students to come along, and arrange
opportunities for play, discovery, adventure and “do-ing”.
of The Forest School are community members, parents, professionals,
experienced educators and each other. The school values the knowledge and
experiences of everyone.
The Forest School is located at 413 Palisades Road, South Gillies. The
indoor space is full of light and air, is roomy and comfy and has an
earthy and magical feel to it. The outdoor space is 130 acres with a pond,
a field and forest all around. There is plenty of room for exploring,
climbing, crawling, smelling, getting dirty … Although the forest is full
of natural beauty and magical spots, we have dreams of debris huts, tree
houses and other wonderful meeting places.
The school aims to evolve into a centre that offers programs on a regular
basis for learners of all ages - offering various workshops and special
events, organizing family service projects, coordinating a learning
A Day In The Life…
The typical day at the Forest School begins outside with time for
building, exploring, running and helping with daily life and chores around
the Forest School. After our morning sun salutations we spend time in our
individual sit spots (special places in the forest), where we spend time
connecting with the earth and ourselves. We then head inside for a
communal snack, followed by our circle time, which involves activities and
learning centered on the day’s theme as well as time for a story.
Creative play follows, where the children transform the space and
themselves into everything imaginable. There are organized art activities
and ongoing art projects that the children may choose to work on. After
our communal lunch, folks head off for their quiet time. Some may work on
journals, others may read or make puzzles. As this winds down (and the
kids wind up), we again head outside for our days adventure. We spend
time learning about the rhythms and life found in the natural world. We
explore, discover and definitely get dirty. The last part of the day is
spent inside following up with the day’s theme (either doing art,
movement, completing projects etc) or engaging in specific sessional
classes. E.g. games from around the world, gardening, moon journals etc.
After our closing circle, kids gear up and head outside to meet their
Finding your way-
The Forest School is approximately 45 minutes
from Thunder Bay.
Take HWY #61
Hwy #608 South Gillies.
Turn right onto
HWY #608 and
continue until the end. Turn
left on HWY #595 (you are at South Gillies), and then
take your first right onto Palisades Road. The
Forest School is at fire number 413 (approximately 4 km
down Palisades). The driveway is 3/4 km long.
Keep on the left road and you will find yourself at the
Forest School (and Both Hands Bread Bakery).