Red-tailed Hawk Forest School Gains Independent School Status by Ontario Ministry of Education
Local Forest School Red-tailed Hawk recently gained independent school status by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Founded in 2016, Red-Tailed Hawk Forest School was spearheaded by local teacher Shannon Foley, who had previously taught and designed an outdoor education program and recognized that the majority of her students were more engaged while they learned outdoors.
In its first year, Shannon Foley approached a group of supporting parents who fully endorsed the concept of nature-based learning and registered their children to get the program off the ground and running.
Shannon Foley designed the curriculum while researching other models of learning where subject matter and teachers were inspired by the natural elements of the forest. A forested property was set up with lean-to shelters and students began to explore and learn while connecting with wilderness.
“In our first year, I realized that kids don’t need to have the walls of a classroom around them to thrive in learning. I discovered Forest School Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, and I embarked on a journey to make Red-tailed Hawk an inspiring place for students to gain a meaningful education,” explains Shannon Foley.
Foley realized that Forest School Canada had started a nation-wide movement with supporting research to educate teachers about the benefits of teaching outdoors. In 2017, she became a registered Forest School Practitioner by this governing body.
Over the past two years, the school’s leadership focused on gaining Independent School status. In November of 2019, Red Tailed Hawk Forest School became a certified private school with the Ontario Ministry of Education, meeting the demand for educating children outside.
“The greatest gift you can give your child is educational opportunities that prepare them for the diverse challenges of life. After spending 20 years working in the education field, with the last 3 of them as the Headmaster of a private school, I can emphatically say that the Forest School model provides children with an atmosphere where they can flourish. We have had our daughter enrolled full time at Red-Tail Hawk Forest School for their incredible Junior and Senior Kindergarten program. On a daily basis we are beyond impressed with, not only how much she is learning, but her confidence and connection with nature. The advancements we have witnessed in our daughter’s social, emotional, musical and academic development far out paces any other system I have worked with. Not to mention the fact that all of this is achieved in a loving, fun environment submersed in nature. No one knows what obstacles the future holds but what you can be certain of is that a strong educational foundation that honours the whole child will make facing them easier.”, RTH Parent, Brayden Plummer.
For information about Red-tailed Hawk Forest School contact:
Shannon Foley, Principal, Owner and Operator, Red-tailed Hawk Forest School