COVID-19 and Program Status

July 5th, 2020

Hey Folks!
What a strange year 2020 has been thus far and we’d first and foremost like to thank everyone for their patience, understanding and ongoing encouragement during these challenging times.  The mantra “we are all in this together” certainly held true for us as we felt nothing but love and support from our school community.  This has been a year that enabled us to discover new and creative ways of connecting with ourselves, others and Nature, and will have some lasting positive impacts on how we move forward and deliver our programming. It’s not necessarily how we expected to celebrate our 5th year, but are nevertheless extremely grateful!  We are excited for the upcoming school year, have had a groundswell in our registration numbers and are busily preparing for how this will unfold.
LOOKING FORWARD
We are confident that FSFNS is a common sense option for the Fall – our normal operations have us outdoors all the time, in daily cohorts and with small class sizes.   We have always been well suited for an unprecedented time like this and are getting geared up for a great year.  If there’s a silver lining, this pandemic has really shone a light on just how important Nature Connection and what we are doing here really is.  As a certified private school, we will be following all Ministry Guidelines as well as our own specifically adapted protocols to ensure the safety of all students, staff and the greater community.
REGISTRATION
Our Fall Registration is open!  As previously stated, we are seeing a surge in applications and are nearly at our current capacity.  If your program is already full, don’t fret!  It is likely we will be opening more days at our sites and bringing in more teachers to meet the need (and to maintain our small student to teacher ratios). Register on this site or send us an email! We have also added a yearlong registration option at a discounted rate too.
CURRENT PROGRAMS
Over the past few months and after careful and thoughtful consideration we chose to delay all of our in-person programming until the Fall 2020 – which meant cancelling overnight trips, workshops/special events and summer camps.   It was a tough choice, but inevitably enabled us to be flexible, adaptive and creative.  We’ve held “Virtual Campfires” with our students via Zoom; did a Full Moon Campout with students (in their own backyards) in early June; continued to meet with our Book Club (join here!) and have recently launched our Summer Geocache Challenge.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Fall Wild Series Workshops, too!
Be sure to connect with our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay connected with what’s going on!
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to getting all our kids outside!
Matt and Kim Simpson,
Directors, FSFNS

May 28th, 2020

Dear Forest School Families and our little outdoor community,

With our students, staff and the greater community at the forefront of our decision-making, we have decided to cancel our 2020 Summer Camps due to the ongoing concerns with COVID-19.

Recognizing that our work is centred on cultivating connection and mentoring children to be stewards of their communities, our Board of Directors feel that this decision is the most socially responsible option for us at this time.

As much as we are missing and yearning for our amazing community to gather again to play in forests and splash in creeks, we want to be able to look back at this time and know that we did absolutely everything we could to help combat this pandemic together.

We know that children need to feel connected outdoors more than ever these days and we are truly sad for all of the missed connections we would have been sharing together this summer!

That being said, we are hopeful that our 2020/2021 school year will be in full operation and are pleased to announce that our registration is now LIVE. Click here or email us to secure your spot for the fall.

Please know that there is a full refund guarantee should our program continue to be impacted by COVID-19.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding and patience during this time. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment this may have caused for you and your children. We hope you are all keeping well and are able to find little ways to connect outdoors and to one another.  Be sure to share some stories with us!

In gratitude and health,

Kim and Matt
On behalf of our Forest and Nature School Team

May 20th, 2020

We hope that you’re keeping well and are able to find a few moments here and there to connect with nature and take some deep breaths outside! We’re here for you if you need anything – whether it’s a little chat, an interesting nature-photo that you want to share with us, or even a wild recipe.  Our teachers miss all of your kids and being able to spend so much quality time in the forest together!

As we expected, with yesterday’s announcement by the Ontario Government closing all schools for the remainder of the year, we are officially closing our “doors” for this season.

In terms of Summer Camps, it was announced yesterday that day camps  could run if current trends continue.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely and our Board of Directors will make a decision about operating that is in the best interest of our students, staff, the greater community and the quality of programming we can achieve with social distancing measures. We are awaiting further direction and clarification prior to making a final decision. Our Annual Snowy Owl Overnight has been cancelled, but will resume Summer 2021.

We are looking forward to the Fall and are hopeful that our operations will be back and running as usual by then.  Fall Registration will open up in the next little while so please stay tuned to what we are doing on our Facebook page and Instagram.

Warmly,
Matt and Kim (on behalf of our FNS Team)

March 31st, 2020

Being outside in small groups in connection with self, others and Nature is the foundation of our program and we believe an essential piece of daily life. During this unprecedented time our hope is that at some point we will be able to offer our programs again to support our students and families. However, it’s clear that our original postponed start to the Spring Session (April 6th) is not feasible and therefore we’ve made the decision to suspend all programming until further notice in support of the broader community and regional approach at this time.

We have hopes that we may be able to run a shortened program later this Spring, however with the uncertainty of current events we do not know how, when or if this can occur.

We love this little community we’re all building here and know that we will weather this storm. As they say, we are all in this together and here’s hoping that you find time to slow down and connect with the really important things in life.  Thanks everyone for trusting in us and for your understanding and support. Please share stories with us along the way and if you have any questions, or need anything, please reach out!

Matt and Kim (on behalf of everyone at FSFNS)

March 16th, 2020

In an effort to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and support the greater community we have made the decision to delay the beginning of our Core Spring Programming until April 6th (this is a tentative start date to be reevaluated closer to the date) effective immediately.

We believe this decision is the best thing for everyone at this time and thank you for your understanding.

As our friends reminded us – Community is Resilient, Calm is Contagious and take time to Breathe. Remember to still get outside and connect with Nature over this period (at a safe social distance).

Matt and Kim (on behalf of FNS)

March 14th, 2020

March Break Camp Cancelled – With the growing situation and the closures all around us, we believe it is no longer responsible for us to carry on as planned.  While we believe we are in a low-risk situation in regards to the spread of COVID-19, we make this decision with the greater community in mind.  This has unfolded quite quickly and this decision was made just moments ago by our Board of Directors.

We encourage families to take this time off together and soak up as much nature and time spent outside as possible.  Community is resilient and we will get through this together. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

We will be following up with a decision on Core Weekly Programs within the next couple days and how they will be impacted.  

We have also temporarily frozen registration for all programs until further notice. 

Thank you for your ongoing support, patience and understanding in this unprecedented time.

-Your FNS Crew

March 13th, 2020

We are committed to providing safe outdoor programming for our kids and wanted to let you know that we are working with a network of experts and other outdoor schools to develop emerging principles and policies in response to the new realities of COVID-19 (and the recently announced extended school closures over March Break.)  After thorough and thoughtful consideration and consultation we are choosing to remain open in Collingwood for our March Break camp.  As of today (March 13th), we are also planning to remain open for the Spring Session with some restrictions.  This could all change quickly and we will be in touch via email. Thanks in advance for your understanding. 

The health of your kids, our community and staff is a top priority and we’ve taken precautionary steps to lessen the health risk associated with COVID-19 and reduce opportunities for transmission. This is consistent with standard respiratory illness precautions, which includes:

1. Ensuring the consistent practice of good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene (hand washing and/or hand sanitize)
2. Ensuring regular and routine environmental cleaning and disinfecting, especially for high-touch surfaces/objects.
3. Ensuring our food sharing policies are in effect and maintained by all students.
4. Continuing to ensure small student-teacher ratios and class sizes, where students are not in extremely close proximity. (Experts are suggesting that any public meeting with under 250 people should still be okay).
5. Staff will observe your child on arrival to ensure they appear in good health. Students/children and staff who show any symptoms during the day will be isolated from the group until they are able to be picked up (they will need to be picked up immediately).

Further extra programming precautions to be taken at this time:

1. We are limiting our Spring Programming to Core Programs Only (Wolf Pack, PA Days, Cedars and Saplings, and other non-core programs have been postponed/cancelled until further notice).
2. We will not be offering support programs during the extended two weeks of School Closures – sorry for the inconvenience.

And finally, your responsibility to our community:

1. We are relying on transparent communication with families and asking all participant families to help keep our community safe.
2. For students/children and staff who are ill with fever and/or infectious respiratory symptoms to stay home from school, as per our policies and procedures.
3. If you have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, or if you are presenting any of the symptoms as listed by public health please opt out of participation in programming (you will not be penalized).

We will keep you up to date with any changes as much as possible via email (things are changing daily).  As  time passes, we know there are many uncertainties and if at anytime you feel that you would like to withdraw your child from programming there would be no penalty.

Thank you for your patience and understanding with this! As Jennie (our president) says, Clean Hands and Open Hearts!

-Your FNS Crew