Exploring our Natural Wonders: TRCA’s The Nature School

Reconnecting with nature and fostering an appreciation for the environment has become increasingly important in our fast-paced, technology-driven world. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) The Nature School (TNS) at Claireville Conservation Area and Kortright Centre for Conservation is a program designed to inspire kids to become future environmental champions.

TNS is an outdoor-focused alternative private school that promotes curiosity and nurtures the whole child through experiential learning opportunities.

TNS classrooms take place in a natural outdoor setting, giving students the freedom to guide their own learning by making real-world connections through exploration and high-level questioning.

Parents can send their children to TNS for one day per school week or up to five.

TNS features small class sizes so that its Ontario Certified teachers can provide focused attention on each student. The curriculum touches on all subjects and disciplines, including math, science, art, language, and physical education.

student at The Nature School learns about shelter building
student at The Nature School gets creative in the mud kitchen

Learning outcomes are based on real-time explorations and experiences rather than pre-determined concepts from books or screens.

These are the qualities that make The Nature School unique:

Embracing Nature as the Classroom

TNS provides a refreshing change from traditional classroom settings. It offers students an opportunity to learn in the great outdoors, surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes and ecosystems of Claireville and Kortright.

From dense forests to serene wetlands and meandering rivers, each natural setting becomes an interactive and dynamic classroom where students can explore, inquire, and connect with the environment on a profound level.

students climb over logs as they enjoy outdoor exploration at The Nature School

Holistic Experiential Learning

TNS focuses on experiential learning, placing students at the forefront of the educational journey. Through hands-on activities and immersive experiences, students develop a deep understanding of environmental concepts, ecological relationships, and sustainable practices.

By engaging all their senses, students develop a deep connection with nature and gain a holistic perspective on the intricate web of life surrounding them.

students at The Nature School enjoy holistic experiential learning

Inspiring Environmental Stewardship

By immersing students in nature and allowing them to witness the beauty and fragility of our ecosystems firsthand, TNS fosters a genuine passion for environmental conservation and stewardship.

Through guided exploration, students learn about the importance of biodiversity, water conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable living practices, empowering them to become environmental stewards in their communities.

students in The Nature School at Kortright work on a stewardship project
students in The Nature School at Kortright work on a stewardship project
students in The Nature School at Kortright work on a stewardship project

Nurturing Curiosity and Creativity

TNS encourages students to ask questions, think critically, and explore their natural surroundings with curiosity. By embracing their innate sense of wonder, students develop a lifelong love for learning and an appetite for discovery.

Whether observing native wildlife, conducting experiments, or engaging in art and storytelling inspired by nature, students can express their creativity and find inspiration in the natural world around them.

student at The Nature School encounters a caterpillar

As we face increasingly complex environmental challenges, programs like The Nature School are essential for ensuring a sustainable future.

TNS aims to cultivate a generation of environmentally conscious and responsible citizens, empowered to appreciate, respect, and protect the natural world.

Registration for September 2023 is now open!

TRCA is currently offering a special promotion for parents signing up Primary/Junior students (Kindergarten to Grade 6): Register before August 17, 2023 to receive admission coupons to TRCA parks or discounts on park memberships!