SAFETY FIRST We're taking extra measures to ensure your children are safe in our program. Learn More
When children play on the land, they are free to choose how, where, and what they play. Lessons emerge from their environment & experiences. They are encouraged to explore their natural surroundings, build physical autonomy and confidence, they learning about themselves and each other by connecting with nature and building relationships with the guidance & supervision of trusted adults.
We are a Safe Space and do not have expectations based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The core value of CHILD NATURE CONNECT is respect; for the facilitators, children, adults, and our communities & the Land. Each participant is honoured for their own personality, interests, and intelligences. We are all working together to raise our children & build community.
Boundaries & Connection
Clear boundaries & secure emotional connections make children feel safe & loved. Expectations, guidance, predictable routines, simple rules delivered with love and consistency.
Children & adults work within caring limits to make safe choices for their physical and emotional well being, developing and practicing, resilience, empathy & self-regulation.
We meet individuals where they are, building confidence with encouragement that focuses on process, rather than outcome. We understand
learning as a journey where success will look different for each individual & family. Recognizing developmental learning, experience, physical ability & learning styles
inform skill growth for all our participants.
A Commitment to Truth-Telling
We participate in truth-telling about the land we now call Canada; the legacy of colonization and the residential school system. Our programs ask participants to recognize that any learning that happens on the land must be built on a foundation of truth telling about the history of the land and that we must actively decolonize our spaces and do the work to foster reconciliation and healing, and that this work is ongoing. Programming is developed with a trauma-informed perspective, learning from Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, researchers, Knowledge Keepers, communities and partners. All participants are asked to to be respectful of the legacy of colonialism & genocide of the geographies we visit, and to acknowledge the history of the land with which we engage. We endeavour to provide access to programs in support of diversity and inclusion in alignment with Jordan's Principle. We endeavour to offer a safe environment, and space for individuals to experience nature and support the emotions that connection with the land may uproot
We believe that children learn best when encountering the world through play and discovery. We believe that taking time to play and engage with nature benefits everyone age 1 to 101, and supports physical and mental well being. We provide an environment that offers educational opportunities through free-play and inquiry-driven learning; Opportunities for city kids and their trusted adults, parents & caregivers to connect with the natural landscape. We instil adults and children with an understanding that we are all human beings first. When we engage with one another compassionately we can work together to solve problems, find strategies & meet every individual’s needs; both child and adult.
If we are struggling in our role as caregiver, we can ask:
What might I need right now?
When children are having a hard time we might ask:
What need is not being met?
My name is Jessica Shepherd
Connecting children with nature through early years education, Jessica has more than 10 years of experience in program delivery, parenting & caregiver consulting, research, writing, and document management. Jessica’s approach to early years education centers children and families, meeting them where they are, building on strength, promoting confidence, independence, and resilience. weaving together psycho-educational practices, indigenous-grounded pedagogy, a trauma-informed approach, and forest school ethos; Jessica has established herself as a subject matter expert. She employs an experienced and practiced approach drawing on her academic background and utilizing skills developed in the cultural sector and communications focusing her practice on land-based education; inquiry driven learning and adventurous play in support of development and positive life outcomes.
Jessica R. Shepherd, Founder and Principal, Child Nature Connect