Sage Creek Prairie School puts child led learning first – SwiftCurrentOnline.com

Children will have the opportunity to lead their own outdoor learning this summer thanks to Sage Creek Prairie School. 

The school offers a variety of programs for students from the age of 2 to adults ranging from bushcraft to survival sessions. 

Kristen Simonson, Director and Lead Teacher at the school describes their child lead learning approach. 

“One of the biggest take-aways from our programs is that they are child-led and that’s a relatively new concept here but it’s something that Forest Schools in Europe, BC, and Ontario have been doing for a really long time. That’s where we don’t set out activities for the kids to do.”

Simonson says that when they put a plan in place for the sessions they have resources and tools and opportunities for the kids to engage in all different sorts of different activities but they never say “we are doing this now”. Instead, they have a coulee classroom which is a big space with lots of things to play with such as tools, art, sand pits, and a loose parts play area and they let the children settle into what they would like to do. 

According to Simonson, the younger children get really excited for the first couple of days, however by the third day they have settled and gotten into deep play when they have a lot of focus and when they are bored or want to try something different they have the opportunity to move. 

Simonson adds that it’s fun for the children because they are not bound to a certain activity at a certain time. She says they often have kids come in that have never been given a choice and their first day is chaos as they don’t know what they want to do but by the end, their confidence goes through the roof and they see a quick progression into a lot of independent/resilient kids. 

In addition to their summer and fall sessions, Simonson provides details on some additional programming. 

“We’re pairing up with the Welcome Center and were also pairing up with a few other organizations in town and running some sessions just for the kids in their organizations so they can come out and play. Our fall sessions, because we are working around school again, will be back to an after-school program.”

Although the majority of their summer programming is full, there is limited availability in some of their upcoming fall sessions. 

Those interested in learning more can find Sage Creek Prairie School on Facebook or Instagram or visit their website here

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