Sooke School District intends to offer a Nature Kindergarten program, beginning in September 2012, that provides Kindergarten students with outdoor learning every morning regardless of the weather. In natural, outdoor settings, the students will engage in increased physical activity and develop strong connections to the natural world and the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing.
This model was inspired by forest preschools, which were started in northern Europe almost fifty years ago, and can now be found throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The Nature Kindergarten will be taught by both a Kindergarten teacher and an early childhood educator (ECE). This teaching model and program are unique within the B.C. public school system.
Nature Kindergarten aims to address a growing need for young children to spend more time outdoors connecting to nature. University research partners will study the academic, personal and social benefits of this model. This is a two-year 'proof of concept' pilot, that, if successful is hoped to be replicated in school districts across B.C. and beyond.