Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s, Wild Child Programs have been helping to connect children, youth and families to nature since 2010.
In the Fall of 2010, Wild Child Nature Immersion was launched as a pilot project of Sierra Club Canada-Atlantic Canada Chapter with support from the EcoAction Community Fund. This program was delivered at two school locations as part of their afterschool programs. For 6 weeks at each school, Heidi Verheul would visit the EXCEL Child Care Program and would invite the children to explore, create art, play games, observe all sorts of critters, and discover amazing nature on and near school grounds.
You can see a video from 2010 here.
During the Fall of 2011, we expanded the program to reach all the afterschool programs in the HRSB, but due to funding constraints and the Metro Transit strike in the late winter of 2012 we had to cancel our remaining visits.
With the help of Tony Reddin and many donors on PEI, Wild Child Nature Immersion resurfaced in Charlottetown in 2015 and has been offering free nature programming to child care centres in PEI.
During the Fall of 2014, Sally Trower and Heidi Verheul met to discuss the similiarities between the Nature Immersion Program and the emerging Forest School movement. With a small cadre of caring, passionate, and fun women (Emily Dodge, Paula Arruda, Jacqiu Reeves), Wild Child Forest School was born at the tail end of a particularly harsh winter and a space was found.
Since the Spring of 2015, Wild Child Forest School has run half day, full day, week long summer day camps, afterschool programs, field trips, and Saturday morning clubs for children from as young as 3 to 12 years of age and up.
In 2016 the NS Wild Child Forest School program has worked with over 240 children and families for over 6000 hours of time spent outside in nature. This past year the Nature Immersion Program in PEI visited 31 childcare centres multiple times and introduced 510 children to the wonders of nature.
We are currently planning exciting things for 2017, including a Forest School on PEI and new locations for Nova Scotia. Please stay tuned and contact us to be added to our email list to receive updates about our programs and upcoming registration.