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camp bloomsbury

Play is seriously valuable. It is through play that children learn to trust their inner voice, develop social skills and become confident and independent people.  When we give a child the time and space to explore, their natural instincts toward learning are cultivated.  It is in these moments of genuine curiosity that the child is most receptive to learning new concepts.  These learning experiences last not only until the test is over, but for a lifetime. Nature is inherently full of opportunities to develop skills in risk assessment/management and problem solving.  Nature is also dynamic and ever changing, the child must learn to adapt to differing conditions and in so doing they develop grit and self-confidence.   

 

 

the vision

To provide children a safe space to grow, develop imagination and explore the natural beauty of the farm and forest.  We support and encourage curiosity, creativity, community and the joy of cultivation.  


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sprouts

Ages 3-5

This program will begin each morning with a get to know you circle of songs, dance, stories or games and a quick overview of the schedule for the day.  The morning will be spent exploring the farm, visiting/petting animals (hens, goats, horses), cultivating the children’s garden, and harvesting produce for snack. A picnic lunch will be eaten on the grounds or inside the pavilion, weather depending.  After lunch, the children will enjoy free play in the forest. Essentially, they will go to forest school for a few hours each day!  They will be able to climb tall boulders or trees, make mud pies, play in the creek, build forts, construct a bird nest or insect home, create dams or fairy villages.  There will be art materials available for creating nature inspired art, as well as digging tools, strings, and loose parts to encourage creativity and collaboration. 

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saplings

Ages 6-9

This camp will begin with a get to know you group, a story/poem, yoga flow or game to build community and trust.  Children in this group will use produce harvested from the farm and learn simple recipes to prepare seasonal snacks.  They will also have the opportunity to receive a horseback riding lesson one day during the camp.  Using natural materials, they will learn how to construct a debris hut, which is a common bush crafting technique.  Other projects will be making an insect house, using foraged materials to make a bird feeder, and constructing either a bat box or a birdhouse.  After lunch, we will spend a few minutes in “sit spots” and reflect on our observations through nature journaling.  The rest of the afternoon will be free play in the forest. Field guides and art materials will be available during this free play time.  These children will also have access to binoculars, hand lenses, digging tools, and hammers & nails for more complex and collaborative construction projects.

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farm fridays

All camps culminate with Farm Friday’s from 3-6. The families of all campers are encouraged to explore the forest classroom with their children, and to enjoy the camaraderie and community of this beautiful farm with the families of other CSA members.


 

TO SIGN UP


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the details…

Cost is $300 per week

Sibling Discount 10%

Basic application and application fee is required to reserve a spot.  

All camps are hosted from 9-3

Camps will take place outside rain or shine, with the pavilion available for a dry lunch or in the event of storms.  

Your child will come home dirty or your money back!

 

Dates for Farm to Forest camps:

June 3-7 Sprouts

June 10-14 Sprouts

June 17-21 Saplings

June 24-28 Sprouts 

July 8-12 Saplings

July 15-19 Sprouts

July 22-26 Saplings


 

 

BLOOMSBURY FOREST SCHOOL

 
 
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BENEFITS OF FOREST SCHOOL

  • Provides the child time, space and play to develop their fullest potential  

  • Provides play based learning that is child initiated and child led

  • Builds children’s on-going relationship with the land, to a dedicated educator, to one another, and to themselves

  • Provides opportunities to work collaboratively; to create, problem solve, support one another, dream of a bigger and better world

  • Encourages healthy habits and lifestyles

  • Allows children to develop skills in risk assessment and management

  • Increases motivation, self-esteem and concentration

  • Develops respect for the natural world and also respect for its dangers

  • Stimulates children’s innate curiosity by being close to nature

  • Teaches children to become well informed and caring stewards of the natural world

  • Encourages family involvement in nature-related learning


PHILOSOPHY AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Forest school originated in Scandinavia in the 1960’s and its popularity has continued to increase all over the world ever since.  Forest School is a place-based, child directed, outdoor educational philosophy. Children learn through direct, hands on experience, experimentation, and observation.  The child leads their own learning journey. When they are interested in something, Forest school guides are prepared to help them learn as much as they possibly can about the subject.  This is the optimal brain state for retaining information!

Academic subjects do come up, but they are not the primary focus.  Younger children may want to measure, count, compare or categorize sticks, rocks, leaves, bones or bugs.  They develop vocabulary by learning the names of species found in their forest school classroom. Older children may want to create maps of their surroundings, or write poetry about the things they observe. It is just as possible that a child will explore scientific concepts like displacement, physics, and geometry through play.  There is no wrong way to learn in Forest school!

Social skills are valued and enhanced in our program.  Children in forest schools learn to collaborate to accomplish hard things (like rolling a huge stump to a new location or making a seesaw out of natural materials, or building a dam to contain a flooded stream). Guides also, model and encourage politeness, peacemaking, problem solving and kindness in all their communications.  

When children spend long stretches of time in the same place, they develop a relationship with it.  This is true outdoors as well. A child who has the opportunity to play under, around and on the same trees in every season, develops an intimate connection with those trees.  Children in forest schools develop resilience, as they manage and learn to deal with a variety of external forces. They learn rainy days are the best time to locate earthworms, splash in puddles, and make mud soup.  They discover hot days are a great time to relax in the shade or walk barefoot in the cool creek. Cold days become a great time to sing around a warm fire, cook campfire pancakes, and play games of chase to warm up. The resilient child knows it isn’t what is outside them that dictates their circumstances, it is what is within.  Children find endless joy just being together, discovering a new creature or plant, and realizing they can climb a little bit higher today than yesterday.

Children in forest schools also learn how to assess and manage risks. This is rare in our current culture as many risks are eliminated with technology or endless rules for behavior.  Forest school guides offer thoughtful observations, such as, “the rocks look shiny this morning, that tells me they are slippery” or “I see that this log is starting to decay, that means it isn’t as sturdy as it used to be.”  The guide will then allow the child to experiment and watch to see what the child does with that information. If the experiment goes awry, the child is comforted, first aid administered and another thoughtful conversation is initiated to help the child better manage future situations.  

Phrases like, “Be careful” and “Watch out” mean very little to children, and do not facilitate growth or learning.  Instead we observe and trust children to make a choice they feel comfortable with. Children, for the most part, are far more cautious than we give them credit for.  This doesn’t mean there are no guidelines, but rather that children are encouraged to ask questions. Boundaries can and do expand as trust and skills develop. Forest school guides give children the space and time to investigate their choices and the consequences of those choices.  This leads to greater self-awareness, confidence and knowledge.

Children enrolled in Forest school develop the soft skills needed to be successful in life:  perseverance, ingenuity, curiosity, collaboration, risk assessment and resilience.

Where

In the forest of beautiful Bloomsbury Farm.  A few amenities on this campus: a cozy dry shelter, a year-round creek, seasonal water fall, lake, pond, fresh well water, organic produce for snack, ducks, chickens, goats, geese, horses, and a children’s garden to cultivate!  The majority of our time will be spent in the forest, but as children show interest, we will explore the farm as well.



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PROGRAM AND FEES

Application fee $50

Materials fee $100 (to be paid upon enrollment).

Primary 3-6

Wednesday-Friday

Hours 9-12

1 day a week (Fridays) $120 per month

2 days per week $240 per month

3 days per week $360 per month

Elementary 7-12

Hours 1-4

Wednesday- Friday

1 day a week (Fridays) $120 per month

2 days a week $240 per month

3 days a week $360 per month

Group size is limited to 12 children with a teacher/student ratio of 1:6 to ensure personalized attention and safety.

The program will run from September through mid-May and will generally follow the Williamson County school system in terms of Fall, Winter, Spring breaks and national holidays.  We will host special events on a bimonthly basis to build community and encourage family involvement.
If you would like to learn more about our program please email camp@bloomsburyfarms.com to schedule a visit during Camp Bloomsbury this summer.  The best way to learn about forest school is to observe it for yourself!