Room to Roam hopes to encourage a child’s sense of wonder in the natural environment. We are here to get children outside with their peers in a play-based, emergent, child-led program. We play outside with whatever nature has to offer. We follow the Forest School Philosophy.
We believe that it is important that children connect with nature. By doing so we also teach children to become environmental stewards to care about our surroundings and those people and creatures in it. We do this simply by just being outdoors and exploring our natural spaces. We learn about wildlife, plants and the importance of our environment and our connection to it. The connection happens through the experiences and time we spend outside exploring and playing. We also encourage children’s social and emotional development by working together as a team, learning to play with peers, problem solving, conflict resolution and emphasizing the importance of kindness and caring for others and our environment.
Our View of the Child
We believe children are innately motivated to learn. They are primed to take in loads of information about their environment. Children have a unique and fresh perspective of the world. Children deserve to explore their curiosity. They are capable, creative, curious, imaginative, learners with the desire to contribute in the world around them. We believe every child has the right to learn about their natural environment.
Children learn through play. Play is essential for their development and children deserve the freedom to play. Children learn through all their senses and the outdoor environment provides a full sensory experience. Children learn by doing and by discovering for themselves.
Children have a voice. We, as adults, must listen to that voice. Children deserve to be treated with respect.
A Day at Room to Roam
Once we are checked in we start our day with our first circle in which we sing our welcome song, talk about safety and our plan for the day. We finish our circle with our Kindness Pledge and our Room to Roam cheer. Then we load up our backpacks and hit the trail. We walk to our location for the day and then set up. At this point some children may wish to have a snack and others may play. This is a time that is open to free play in the natural environment. Toward the end of our free play time we will invite everyone to sit for snack, tea and our story time. This is a great time for the children to connect with each other and with the educators. At the end of our day we will pack up and have our final circle time called our Gratitude Circle. This is a time when we recount the day’s activities and the children can share their favorite moment of the day or something they are thankful for. We will sing our goodbye song and walk back to our pick up location.
Benefits of outdoor education
There are many reasons why the outdoors is so beneficial for children. Nature inspires and promotes creativity. Outdoors the children will find sticks, rocks, sand or mud which can be anything a child might imagine them to be. For example a stick can be a fishing pole, an ice cream cone, a car, a treasure, a pet or a stick could be used to create a fort, a camp fire or a tower. This is the type of play that fosters a child’s innate imagination and creativity.
The outdoors is the perfect setting to assess risk and challenges. Nature is an unpredictable settings. It could rain, the terrain is uneven, and there may be roots to traverse or boulders to climb. Physically it is a much more challenging setting than any indoor environment or playground. In the natural setting children must assess and evaluate risks. They learn what they are capable of and gain and build confidence in so doing.
The outdoors also offers a broad sensory experience. Young children are made for outdoor play because their young brains are primed to take in the experiences it has to offer, from the scent of leaves, soil and flowers, to the feel of grass, tree bark and mud, the sounds of running water, rain drops and bird calls. It’s a sensory experience that is full but it does not overstimulate unlike many indoor experiences. Many children in an enclosed room make for a noisy and confusing space. Outdoors all the senses are engaged but not overstimulated. Outdoors a child’s sense of wonder is allowed to flourish.