We aim to build a foundation for a healthy start for children by fostering a deep sense of curiosity and by holding space for significant amounts of outdoor, child-led exploratory play. We encourage learners to develop a deep sense of place through understanding their role in the natural world.
Our teaching is guided by the local landscape, and we work to customize our programming around learners' passions and seasonal changes. We will have routine, regular and repeated access to beautiful local forest spaces and integration time through reflective and self-regulation activities.
Days at The Nest
This January, we will be launching a pilot version of The Nest Forest School!
Location: The Whitehorse United Church (601 Main Street, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1M6) will provide an important meeting point and indoor back-up location should the weather be truly inclement during program. Unless otherwise noted, we will meet children outside each day at the edge of the Church parking lot.
Days of operation: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons Program hours: 12:30 - 3:30 pm Dates: Tue. Jan. 7 2020 to Thu. Jun. 4 2020 Days closed: Mar. 17, 18, 19 + 24, 25, 26 2020 Class size: 14 part-time positions are available *Note: If families are not able to attend all Tu/W/Th program days they may choose to self-organize and find another family or two to 'share' a full spot with. R2R is not able to coordinate partial attendance of the program at this time.
Sample Daily Routine Actual days may vary depending on weather, types of activities, and needs of the children on a specific day. 12:30 pm Drop off 12:45-1:00 pm Gratitude circle + Welcome (song, story) 1:00 - 2:00 pm Core Outdoor Routine + Exploratory Play 2:00 - 2:20 pm Snack & Story (indoor or outdoor depending on weather) 2:20 - 3:00 pm Core Outdoor Routine + Exploratory Play 3:00 - 3:30 pm Closing circle + Goodbye (song, story) 3:30 pm Pick up
Cost of program: $24/session @ 60 sessions. Payment plans are available upon registration.
Our programs are designed with empathy, awareness and community at the heart. Learn more about Rivers to Ridges' philosophy. Programing at the forest school is set in the outdoors, child-led, imaginative and focused on nurturing curiousity and wonder.
Meet Rosalind - Our new Forest School Educator & Coordinator
Rosalind was born in Whitehorse, on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, and is thrilled to call the Yukon home again and to be joining the Rivers to Ridges team. Growing up in Ontario and in Denmark, Rosalind has many memories of playing outside with her sisters, creating worlds in a cluster of flowering bushes or up in the branches of trees – and she cannot wait to explore the worlds that await the Forest School, the Nest.
She is a certified teacher with a BEd from St. Thomas University, and a BA in Geography and Aboriginal Perspectives, and Drama from Mount Allison University. She has spent the last several years living and working in Inuvik, NWT, most recently as a Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten teacher. Prior to that, she worked as the Coordinator for the Inuvik Community Greenhouse and on organic farms in Ontario and BC. Rosalind has also spent a year teaching English in four elementary schools in Montluçon, France.
Rosalind is passionate about play-based learning and the role it can play in helping children gain autonomy and responsibility. In addition to playing and learning outside, Rosalind enjoys singing and playing music, and growing veggies to support local food security. She loves all aspects of theatre – from backstage production in Inuvik’s high school, to touring with a bilingual theatre troupe (once as a talking broccoli!), and performing in Shakespeare in the park. Rosalind is excited by how theatre can empower children and youth, and build self-confidence.
She believes that a healthy connection with the land leads to healthier relationships between people. She believes the learning journey resembles a seed as it grows – what is crucial is cultivating an environment where every child can put down roots for their learning to flourish.
E-mail Rosalind at email@example.com
"I remember when my son was about three, in the constant questioning stage. Trying to be a good mother, I dutifully answered every question with some informative explanation.
Then one day in the middle of another train of questions and answers, he suddenly wailed up at me, "Mom, DON'T ANSWER!" and he burst into tears of outrage.
I was stunned, but crouching down to hug his tears away, I realized that he didn't want my answers. All those questions were a plea to come into his world with him, at his level, to join with him in his curiousity."
- Ellen Haas, co-author of Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature
What are the program details? The pilot program for 3-5 years olds will run out of the Whitehorse United Church (601 Main Street, Whitehorse, Yukon) on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday afternoons (12:30 pm - 3:30 pm) from January 7 - June 4, 2020.
Will a family member be required to volunteer time with the program? Yes. Intergenerational programming is an important part of what makes The Nest Forest School so special. A family member will be required to spend time volunteering as a condition of enrollment.
Will there be space within the program for special guests (e.g. visiting Elders, Knowledge Holders or others)? Yes, Elders and other visiting specialists will be joining our programs periodically to spend time with the children.
Will the program provide snacks for my child? No, there will not be a meal program, and children will be expected to arrive with their own snacks and drinks.
Is this program focused on outdoor learning and time spent on the land in all seasons? Yes, we intend to spend as much time exploring and playing outdoors as possible!
Will this program provide my child with social, emotional, ecological and intellectual development opportunities? Yes, children will gain skills in a range of interpersonal, development and educational areas (see chart above).
How can I enroll and register my child in The Nest? Starting on Thursday, October 24, 2019 families are welcome to apply for a spot at The Nest through the link available above You will be able to confirm your spot by submitting a down payment and completing relevant forms. Payment plans and the Strong Roots Bursary Fund are available to support families.
My child is turning 3 or will turn 6 within the upcoming session. Are they allowed to register? Your child must be 3 years of age or older as of September 1, 2019, and under the age of 6 as of January 1, 2020.
Who receives a bursary? How do you decide? Bursaries are limited and reserved for those most in need of financial assistance. Decisions are made by the Rivers to Ridges team. If you feel your child would benefit from and contribute to the program, and attendance would put a financial hardship on your family please consider applying to the Strong Roots Bursary Fund at www.riverstoridges.org/bursary-fund.
What is your cold weather policy? We are guided by the weather as much as we are by the needs of the children we serve. We aim to be outside in all weather conditions, and we will have a temporary structure set up outside for warmth as needed. While we do not have a hard temperature cut-off, we do take extra precautions at -30 and below. Please ensure your child is always prepared and ready to be outside when they come to The Nest. As you know, weather can change quickly during the day. Information to help families prepare can be found on on our Info & Gear List page www.riverstoridges.org/info-and-gear-list.
Can my child attend if they have an inclusion worker? Yes, provided the the inclusion worker is qualified and meets our criteria, plus their presence will enable your child to fully participate in all the activities (indoor and outdoor). If your child will need the support of an inclusion worker to attend program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you offer after-school, Summer, holiday programs? It is unlikely that these programs will be offered during the first year of the program. If this changes, we will send a notification to our mailing list.
What happens if I registered one child and they have a sibling in the same age range? We will always do our best to keep family groups of siblings together. If one is registered, we will do our best to ensure each eligible sibling will also be offered a spot.
Strong Roots Bursary Fund Information
With the aim of keeping all of our programs as accessible as possible, Rivers to Ridges has created the Strong Roots Bursary Fund available for families in need. It is with the support of many that we are able to have and keep this funding available. Unfortunately, we can not guarantee funding for all applicants.
Bursaries are limited and reserved for those most in need. Decisions are made by Rivers to Ridges staff. If you feel your child would benefit from and contribute to the program, and attendance would put a financial hardship on your family, please consider applying to our Fund.
Other potential funding options available for attendance at the Forest Preschool:
Child Care Subsidy Program Assists families who need child care for their children and may not be able to afford the cost of child care Child Care Services Unit: 867.667.3492 Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-800-661-0408 ext. 3492 Email: email@example.com
Jordan's Principle Ensures all First Nations children can access the products, services and supports they need, when they need them. It can help with a wide range of health, social and educational needs Tammy Bazylinski: 867-667-3356 | firstname.lastname@example.org Anna Klee: 867-667-3352 | email@example.com There is also Jordan's Principle Call Centre: 1-855-JP-CHILD (1-855-572-4453) which is a 24 hour service.