Saplings Outdoor Program is Fostering Our Children’s Sense of Wonder for the Natural World
By Lorrie Holmes
Getting outdoors with our kids is a theme that I decided upon many weeks ago when focusing on Back To School recommendations for our families. It felt like an obvious choice to consider around social distancing. It wasn’t until I arranged to spend an afternoon joining in one of the forest camps offered by Saplings Outdoor Program that I was able to see for myself just how much is involved in such a program. This reaches far past the safety of taking learning outside while we are all wanting to have our own space, and delves deep into the areas of mindfulness, education, and overall health of each child who is lucky enough to participate.
Saplings Outdoor Program is located on Vancouver’s breathtaking North Shore. On this particular day, forest camp was in session at Douglas Woodward Park in West Vancouver. What an eye opener this was for me to witness how kids naturally self regulate, explore, and learn through play in the outdoors. Heather Fraser, Owner and Forest Educator, was there to greet me at the entrance, where I followed her and a small group of children into the woods. Off we went along a trail, then one by one, we climbed up onto a fallen tree, and crossed it to the other side. This is where we met up with the rest of the group who were busily exploring their surroundings around the base camp which was set up here for the day.
The goal of my program is not to educate children about nature, but to learn within it. Through play, exploration, and wonderment, learning about nature has become a natural byproduct of the program.Heather Fraser, Owner/Forest Educator