Young girl in nature. Photo © Julie Morris,

Nature schools are popping up like mushrooms around here. The preschools and kindergartens immerse kids in local parks and green spaces for half-days and full-days at a time. The kids play outside. They stay outside. They learn about plants and animals, they look at bugs and pond critters, they make friends with trees.

Colwood’s Sangster Elementary program started the trend. Parents have even camped out overnight to register their children in the program.

Saanich’s preschool at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary started September fully booked, and takes advantage of nature programs offered by sanctuary education staff. The Cridge Centre also started a nature preschool this year. Kiddie Kapers operates out of Commonwealth Recreation Centre, and Victoria Nature School runs out of Mount Doug park and Gordon Head Recreation Centre.

Programs like these put the kinder into the garten — the child into nature. They capitalize on the benefits of being active and outdoors on kids’ mental, physical and emotional health and development….

Read the rest of this editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist….

Child on park boardwalk. Photo © Richard Step,

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