My 4 year old daughter is bouncing because she is excited to go to “nature school” again.  I am excited for the 2 and half hour Early  Explorers program at Winsport and have some time to enjoy some solo time with my 2 year old which  rarely happens.

The 2 and half hour program  allowed my 2 year old and I to have some little adventures around Calgary. We went for a trail run one day, played in the park and enjoyed some ice cream. Another day we visited my parents and went grocery shopping. But … I did not just put my daughter in the Early Explorers program so that I  could have a break. When I learnt about the program and wrote about it in the post “WinSport’s Early Explorers Program”, I was so excited to try it out. I loved that the program was for 3-5 year olds and would be child led education that would take place primarily outdoors.

Early Explorers Program at Winsport

*Our family was given  a free session in the Early Explorers program for our review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Each week  I would pick up my daughter and she would have a beaming smile on her face. She would give her little sister the biggest hug because they missed each other. Then she would go on and brag about her outdoor school and everything that they explored. As I had hoped, they would spend most of their time outside in Husky Gardens or closer to the buildings at the PTC field. Occasionally they would spend time in the indoor space playing with outdoor sensory bins, colouring/drawing their outdoor findings or playing with the dress up clothes. There was absolutely no TV in the facilities that the kids used which meant no screen time at all during the program.

Before leaving each day, I would have a short chat with Ms. Brittany our facilitator about the program and what they experienced that day.  Ms. Brittany, who also manages the program, has a wealth of knowledge in early childhood education and each time we talked I was impressed.

Ms. Brittany tailored the class to the kids in our daughter’s class. In a letter sent out to the parents at the end of the program she wrote: “While getting to know this class I had discovered that they were avid builders and very scientific minded, then out of curiosity I proposed the idea of building a tire  swing of our very own”.  During this particular class the children all worked together to find a place to build a tire swing, find the materials to build it and discussed how   they would make it safe for them to all enjoy.

Values of the Program

Each class was like this and each class our daughter’s enthusiasm for learning in the outdoors grew.  This program was perfect for our little outdoor adventurer and the more I learnt about it over the 4 weeks I realized our educational values aligned more than I had initially thought. My heart smiled when  I read the final paragraph that Ms. Brittany wrote in the letter  to the parents

 “When children  are supported to take risks and turn ideas into reality they discover their capabilities. Empowering children to be active learners and creators supports them in a journey to discover themselves. The influence from this type of empowerment is unlimited. The path to being active, engaged, and empowered learners begins with valuing children’s ideas. By taking the time to build and create our own tire swing we are also building our self-esteem and our potential to be lifelong learners.  “

I have to say that the program exceeded our expectations. I did not know that our daughter would have such a qualified early childhood outdoor educator.   Ms. Brittany was  amazing.

Register in Early Explorers program

The program is off for the summer but will start up again in September.   Registration is in full swing and the program is starting to fill up fast.  Learn more about the program and registration here.  

 

 

By Annika Mang

 

 

 

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