The Nature School at Kortright

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The Nature School

 

Contact Us

Interested in finding out more about our school? Contact us with your questions - we'd be happy to speak with you:
The Nature School
at Kortright Centre for Conservation

9550 Pine Valley Drive
Woodbridge, Ontario
905-832-2289
jgreen@trca.on.ca

What is Nature School?

The Nature School provides students an opportunity to direct their learning through an emergent and inquiry based approach to education. This child centred approach is central to our teaching philosophy and takes places in a natural outdoor setting. The Nature School touches on all subjects and disciplines: in any given moment an experience can cut across math, science, art, language and physical education. Learning outcomes are based on real-time explorations and experiences, rather than pre-determined concepts in books or on screens.

Where is the school located?

The Nature School takes place primarily outside on Kortright’s 555 acre property- with access to a wide variety of natural ecosystems, accessible trails and multiple facilities. Students have use of a 30,000 sq. foot visitor’s centre including a private indoor learning space in case of inclement weather.

Do you follow the Ontario Curriculum?

The Nature School provides a unique learning environment that has a student-led philosophy where we educate the whole child. The students learn through exploration and interest. Teachers observe and record student interests and develop lessons and learning objectives around what inspires them, linking the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum to provide a well-rounded education. 

What are your learning approaches?

Teachers use a student-led, inquiry-based approach when developing lessons. Teachers facilitate student learning through providing a variety of tools, resources and experiences that guide students to find answers to their own questions; which builds confidence, self-reliance, and independent thinking skills.

Learning approaches used by our teachers include:

  • Inquiry- based: A dynamic and emergent process that builds on students’ natural curiosity about the world in which they live.
  • Play-based: Recognizes the integral role of play in a child’s development. This approach engages the whole child by encouraging a depth of experience and treating a child’s emotional, physical and social selves as interwoven.
  • Experiential learning: Learning that is based on students being directly involved in a learning experience rather than being taught pre-determined lesson plans. Students learn through and reflect on their learning experiences
  • Place-based: The act of connecting children to a particular place through direct experiential contact.

At The Nature School, students learn language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, visual arts, music and drama through these learning approaches.

Are the students outside in all weather?

The Nature School philosophy has children learning and engaging with the outdoor environment regardless of weather. In rare instances of severe weather including thunderstorms, heavy rain, heavy snow, strong winds and severe temperatures, an indoor private learning space is available.

What are the student to teacher ratios?

Nature school students benefit from a small class ratio of 1:10 students, this allows teachers and students to have greater experiences, connections and learning opportunities. 

What are your teacher qualifications?

Teachers at The Nature School are thoroughly screened and are an Ontario Certified Teacher. Our teachers may also hold additional qualifications including: Forest School Practitioner, Early Childhood Educator and/or Outdoor Experiential Educator. Our staff are also First Aid and CPR certified, and hold a current clean Vulnerable Sector Criminal Reference Check.

When does school take place?

The Nature School operates from September to June. School starts at 9am and ends at 3pm. Students may be dropped off between 8:45-9am and must be picked up promptly at 3pm.
Before and after care is available for an additional fee.

What are the tuition fees?

The Nature School annual tuition fees are $12,000 which includes all materials and field trips.

Before and after care is available for an additional $3850 per year and runs from 8-9am and 3-5pm. Please note a minimum number of students are required for this service to be offered.

Do you offer any financial assistance?

Unfortunately at this time The Nature School is unable to offer financial assistance to families and students. We continue to work with external partners and funding agencies to offer financial assistance to those in need. Please check our website at www.thenatureschool.ca for updates and eligibility requirements. 

Do you have extracurricular activities?

The Nature School promotes healthy living through outdoor experiences, including hiking, survival skills and visual arts. Students enrolled in our before and after care program may take part in after-school extracurricular sports and art activities.

Is there a lunch program or snacks offered at The Nature School?

The Nature School is looking into providers for a lunch program. Currently students need to bring a packed peanut free lunch and snacks to school. At times students will make snacks such as bannock as part of a lesson.

The Nature School is a nut aware centre but because we are open to the public we cannot guarantee that there will not be traces of nuts at our facility.

Do you offer Special Education Assistance?

At this time students needing one on one support must provide their own educational assistant.

Why are students in a multi-age grade?

The Nature School is offered to students from Kindergarten to Grade 3. Students are placed in multi-age grades which create a supportive learning environment where students have the opportunity to take on a leadership role and learn from each other.  In this environment, students are empowered to use problem solving skills, mentor each other and create a strong school community. 

What are the benefits of Nature School?

Students who attend The Nature School have the benefit from a unique learning experience. In a classroom without walls students are able to develop theories, questions and ideas that drive the learning process. There are many added benefits to sending your child to The Nature School including;

  • Improved self-regulation and academic achievement
  • Improved interpersonal skills (social, communication, motivation and confidence)
  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Improved concentration and self-discipline
  • Improved creativity and resilience

For more information on the benefits of outdoor learning please visit the following websites:

childnature.ca
childrensoutdoorcharter.ca
greenteacher.com
forestschoolcanada.ca
forestschoolsassociation.org
projectwildthing.com
lotc.org.uk/fen
yrnature.ca

Can Parents/Guardians volunteer?

At The Nature School we encourage a community learning environment. Parents/guardians are welcome to volunteer with us. Parents/guardians wishing to volunteer first must attend a volunteer training session and have a clean criminal reference check with a vulnerable sector screening.

What does a day look like at The Nature School?

Every day at The Nature School can bring a new experience and looks different from the day before. Themes and topics that have interested students from previous days have been recorded and serve to direst the development of the teacher’s future lesson plans. Teachers are able to delve deeper into students learning by taking what students are interested in and combining it with the Ontario Curriculum. One day at The Nature School could focus on math, while the next day will focus on science and language. Students have unstructured time every day to explore, read and work on special interest projects.

What types of field trips will my child go on?

At The Nature School students will go on field trips that are linked to their interests. Field trips to McMichael Canadian Art Gallery, the Toronto Zoo, Black Creek Pioneer Village or Tommy Thompson Park may be planned throughout the school year. 

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information please contact Jasmine Green at 905-832-2289 ext 239, or send an email to jgreen@trca.on.ca

Preschool FAQs

What does my child do in The Nature Preschool?

The Nature School Preschool is nature based outdoor learning program. This child-led approach to learning is exploratory, inquiry based, fun and unhurried. Children interact with the natural environment through the use of loose parts, creative play, shelter building, whittling wood, cooking on an open fire, knots, making woodland crafts and sharing stories. 

 

How are the preschool teachers qualified?

The Nature School Preschool teachers hold one or more professional designations including certified Forest School Practitioners, Registered Early Childhood Educators and/or Ontario Certified Teachers with degrees in Outdoor Experiential Education with extensive experience working in early year’s programs.

What are the ratios?

The child to teacher ratio at the preschool is 1:6. 

What is the preschool tuition?

The Nature School Preschool annual tuition fees are $1500 which include a small snack each day.

When does the preschool operate?

The Nature School preschool operates Tuesday and Thursday’s from 9-12pm September- June and is closed during winter break and March breaks. 

The Nature Preschool is offered to children who are 2.5 to 5  years of age and are potty trained. 

Children who are 2.5 to 3 years of age, as of September, 2017, may attend one day a week. 

Children aged 4 to 6 years of age, as of September, 2017, may attend two days per week. 

Are the students outside in all weather?

Nature school philosophy has children outside regardless of weather. In rare insistences of severe weather including thunderstorms, heavy rain, heavy snow, strong winds and severe temperatures an indoor learning space is available.

How old do children have to be?

Children attending The Nature School Preschool must be between the ages of 2.5- 5 years old and must be potty trained. 

Can Parents/Guardians volunteer?

At The Nature School we encourage a community learning environment. Parents/guardians are welcome to volunteer with us. Parents/guardians wishing to volunteer must first attend a volunteer training session and have a clean current criminal reference check with a vulnerable sector screening. 

Can I stay to observe my child?

At The Nature School preschool, parents can arrange a set date with their child’s teacher to observe their child in the program. 


Apply to The Nature School

Primary School Forms

Parents/Guardians must sign the following documents in order to confirm application:

· Application Form

· Waiver Of Claims And Indemnity

· Photo and Image Release Form

· Payment And Fee Policies

· Student Medical History Form

· Vaccination Records/ Statement of Conscience or Religious Beliefs Form 

All of the above documentation plus the application fee, must be received in order to move to the next phase in the admissions process.

Please email or fax completed forms to jgreen@trca.on.ca or 905-832-8238


Preschool School Forms

· Application Form

· Waiver Of Claims And Indemnity

· Photo and Image Release Form

· Payment And Fee Policies

· Student Medical History Form

· Vaccination Records/ Statement of Conscience or Religious Beliefs form 

Please email or fax completed forms to jgreen@trca.on.ca or 905-832-8238

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the required information please speak to the Jasmine Green at 905-832-2289 x 239.

Tuition Fees

Program

Tuition Fees

The Nature School

$12,000

The Nature School Pre-School

$1500

The Nature School Before and After Care  Program(School-age only)

$3850