One of the most wonderful things about spending time in nature is the sense of imagination it evokes. The vibrant colours of the vegetation, the mysterious choir of chirping birds and rustling leaves, the sweet smell of blossoming and growing – all of these elements awaken the senses and spark connection and creativity.
We are so fortune at Power To Be to have access to wilderness at our Prospect Lake site. This space has become a home to us, and the adventures we have pursued on site have been truly magical.
A particularly special spot at the site is our Play Forest. This expanse of trees acts as a gateway to our back trail system and presents a space of welcome and imagination. This area offers an invitation to simply play, unstructured and exploratory, and encourages curiosity and discovery. Whether you’re building forts, collecting fallen bark, playing hide and seek, or putting on a performance, there is endless creativity and inspiration available amongst the trees.
Recently, Power To Be was presented with the exciting opportunity to host one of our partners, EPIC Learning Centre at the Prospect Lake site. EPIC is a nature school based out of Victoria that is K-4 and strives to build a diverse learning community. The program is run by EPIC’s Learning Team made up of teachers and forest mentors.
We have been welcoming their cohort on a weekly basis, where they adventure and explore throughout the site. This amazing program has been spending a lot of time in our Play Forest. For this group of young learners, this is a space of pure imagination. When we asked some of the Learning Team at EPIC about their classes’ experiences in Power To Be’s play forest, they had lots to report on how the space is being used.
One student has been on the lookout for the perfect climbing tree, while another student has discovered “caves” in the forest. Students have spent time doing sit spots and journaling and connecting with nature in the present moment. At one point, the forest became a theatrical stage as teachers and forest mentors put on a play about emotions, and it has also hosted many games of charades, and concerts of made-up songs. Students have been spending time finding and identifying mushrooms and using them for spore prints and sketching. Many houses and forts have been built with logs, and time has been spend making clay art. It has also been the perfect space for journaling, teatime, and gratitude circles.
Here are a few ways kids spend time in the play forest and what makes it special to them:
- “A great place to play with friends.” Maple, Gr. 2 student
- “I like building.” K, Salal student
- ‘This forest is special because of all the red bark.” Maple, Gr. 3 student
In these contexts, a forest becomes more than just a forest; it can be a castle, an art studio, a house, a café, a cave, a stage— the possibilities are endless! As you gaze up at the green canopy, nature embraces you and sparks a sense of freedom and wonder. It has been incredible to hear a chorus of laughter coming from the trees as EPIC explores throughout the day. We are delighted to be able to share this space with our community and look forward to more stories of how the play forest is being used to learn, explore, and play.