At GNS, our Nature School is an outdoor education program that is interest-led, place-based, experiential and seasonal. It is a program designed to integrate children with nature and engage them in quality outdoor activities that stimulate their curiosity about the natural world.
We encourage children to learn through direct experience and our activities flow from what nature presents us with each day. Our goal is to tap into our students' sense of wonder about nature while teaching basic environmental and natural science principles.
Research relating to Nature Schools has shown many benefits to children, including health, motivation and concentration, language and communication, knowledge and understanding, confidence and self-esteem, and improved social skills. Nature School is not just outdoor education. It is not just environmental education, nor is it just play. It is a unique combination of all three. It is about discovery, which makes it very special.
Starting in the fall of 2015, we expanded our Nature School program to include Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Having an opportunity to get our students out into nature every week for an extended period of time has had some amazing benefits. We watch the children’s confidence and understanding of the world around them grow daily. They develop a love for the outdoors and how their bodies move in space, learning about nature, the seasons, weather and many, many more things.
In 2017, the program expanded to our Grade 1 classes, which will participate in Nature School once a month at Swan Lake.