Sapling Forest School encourages children to play outdoors to promote healthy personal growth and ultimately reconnect future generations with the natural world and all of its valuable teachings.
Sapling Forest School strives to reach all children on the West Coast of Newfoundland to provide them with a high-quality outdoor experience that will promote healthy development and build a life-long relationship with nature.
Sapling Forest School understands that child-initiated, outdoor play is essential to every child’s development. We will commit to providing an atmosphere that promotes a sense of community and belonging with the inclusion of children of various ages, backgrounds, and levels of development. We will nurture physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cognitive needs of the children within our care. We will strive to provide enriching opportunities for all children which encourage freedom of self-expression through the use of open ended, developmentally appropriate experiences. All experiences will take place outdoors, in the woods, where children will learn the importance of protecting and appreciating the outdoor world. All children will be given equal opportunity to participate in experiences regardless of individual needs; the environment provided will be universally available to all children.
While playing in the outdoor environment, children are presented with the opportunity to explore and engage in risky play while being supported by their educator to make rational, safe decisions. As they take chances and are resilient or successful in their attempts, children begin to develop a strong self-esteem which is a part of the development of healthy emotional intelligence. We will also encourage and provide the opportunity for the children to explore and develop healthy emotional regulation techniques. Facilitators will suggest emotion calming techniques such as deep breathing or spending time away to reflect before working towards a solution to a problem.
One of the most important jobs that caretakers have is to promote and protect the imagination and curiosity in a child’s mind. It is our responsibility to support children in a way that they may grow to become intelligent, creative and diplomatic.
As facilitators, we will model behaviours that are kind, empathetic and caring towards all people, living things and natural materials so that children learn compassion and empathy and use these skills throughout their lives. We will also promote resilience and personal wellness by encouraging positive problem-solving techniques paired with a fulfilled, healthy life-style.
We value the expertise of fellow educators. We value the opinions and contributions that parents make to the program. As your child’s facilitator, it is of the utmost importance for optimal development and growth, that caregivers actively participate in the learning process both in the classroom and at home. Necessary support will be provided to those families who require it.
We enforce firm health and safety practices that are tailored to suit the needs of all children indoors and out. A child’s safety and wellbeing are our number one concern. When necessary, children’s behaviour must be guided or redirected in such a way that adheres to positive methods. Providing children with the freedom of choice within limits sets the foundation for responsible decision making based on self-discipline and leads to respect of one’s self as well as others.
Our philosophy is contingent with others that focus on the importance of social learning through a play-based curriculum. A child’s creativity will allow him or her to explore and understand concepts in such a way that suits them. A child’s cooperative play is what allows the child to extend their understanding of a concept much further than what they would have alone. When humanity is empathetic and cooperative, we learn from one another in ways that were not possible independently. This is very valuable, therefore, independent as well as interdependent play will be fostered in children of all ages and backgrounds simultaneously.
The experiences offered at Sapling are valuable to every child’s personal development. Through the use of the outdoor environment, we hope to nurture skills and abilities that children can use throughout their lives.