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Team Jess

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and your family to Wild Wonders!

 

My name is Jess Walker, a graduate of the Diploma Level 3 program in Early Childhood Education at Lethbridge College, and a certified Forest School Practitioner accredited by the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and Forest School Canada. With a track record spanning 11 years, I proudly operate a fully licensed nature play program through the Boys and Girls Club Cochrane.

Wild Wonders is more than just a profession to me; it's a way of life. My true passion lies in the transformative experience of introducing children to the wilderness and witnessing the magnetic connection that forms between them and the natural world. I find immense joy in observing their wide-eyed wonder, heightened senses, and open minds as they embark on adventures.

My foundation in Early Childhood Education has provided me with the knowledge to build upon a holistic approach to teaching and learning. I firmly believe in the uniqueness of each child and their need for the freedom to explore and develop their identity. I am committed to being their steadfast supporter, guiding them, and learning alongside them, every step of the way.

My ultimate goal for every child in my care is to foster holistic development encompassing social, physical, intellectual, creative, and emotional aspects within a nature-play-based environment. This ensures they possess a solid foundation as they transition into formal schooling and embark on their individual life journeys.

My commitment to professional growth is unwavering. I constantly seek out the latest information related to early childhood development to ensure that my program evolves alongside my own growth and adheres to best practices. Influenced by educational philosophies such as Reggio Emilia, Magda Gerber, and Maria Montessori, I strive to provide the highest quality of education and care for the children entrusted to me.

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01

Nature Play

Child-led nature learning is special to me because it highlights the power of play in children's growth. Play helps them understand the world, develop bonds, and learn vital skills like problem-solving and teamwork. Wild Wonders gives children the space to be curious, daydream, and explore, emphasizing the learning process over the end result.

02

Bushcraft & Tools

Bushcraft and tools teaches children essential survival skills while fostering independence and confidence. It encourages them to connect with nature, developing a deep respect for the environment. Moreover, it enhances problem-solving abilities and fine motor skills, laying a strong foundation for their overall development.

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03

Loose-Parts

Playing with loose parts sparks creativity, allowing children to use their imagination freely. It enhances an understanding of cause and effect as they explore endless possibilities with materials like sticks, stones, and fabric scraps. This hands-on play fosters independence and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

04

Healthy Attachments

Healthy attachments creates a sense of security for children, making them more open to new experiences and learning. These strong bonds with educators and peers boosts their confidence and social skills. Additionally, they provide a foundation for emotional development, helping kids navigate their feelings and build resilience.

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05

Environmental Stewardship

Learning about environmental stewardship helps children develop a deep connection to nature, fostering a sense of responsibility and care for the environment. It empowers them to make eco-friendly choices that can lead to a healthier planet as they grow up. This early education instills values of sustainability and conservation, setting the stage for a more environmentally-conscious future generation.

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Meet: Tucker

Hi everyone my name is Tucker! I am a Bernese Mountain Dog. I was born on January 14, 2022. My mom and dad came across me at a farm when I was 6 months old where I had 8 human brothers and sisters! Seeing how calm and cool I was with 8 children running around, Mom just had to have me and with a little convincing from mom, my dad decided it was ok for me to go home with them that very day!

Now I am apart of the Wild Wonders Team! I get to spend everyday exploring and being there to support my fellow teammates.

Meet: Chloe

Hello everyone, my name is Chloe! When my mom adopted me, I was scared of my own shadow, now however I can’t get enough time with the children that come to play! I have completely changed for the better with the kindness and respect the children show to me each day! Each morning I sit in the window and patiently wait for my friends to arrive, those morning pets are the absolute best!

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Exposure to pets in early childhood can offer a range of developmental, emotional, and social benefits for children. Here are some reasons why it's important for children to be exposed to pets during their early years:

  1. Emotional Development: Interacting with pets can help children develop empathy, compassion, and nurturing skills. Caring for and bonding with a pet allows children to understand and experience the emotions of another living being, fostering a sense of responsibility and kindness.

  2. Social Skills: Pets provide opportunities for children to practice social interactions, communication, and cooperation. They can learn to interpret nonverbal cues from pets, enhancing their ability to understand emotions and body language in both animals and humans.

  3. Stress Reduction: Research has shown that petting and spending time with animals can reduce stress and anxiety. Children can benefit from this calming effect, helping them manage the challenges and emotions they encounter during their early years.

  4. Physical Activity: Owning a pet encourages physical activity and outdoor play. Walking a dog or engaging in active play with a pet can contribute to a healthier lifestyle for children, promoting physical development and overall well-being.

  5. Language Development: Talking to pets or simply being around them can contribute to language development. Children may engage in conversations, read books aloud, or narrate their activities to their furry companions, which can enhance their vocabulary and language skills.

  6. Responsibility: Taking care of a pet involves daily tasks such as feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after them. These responsibilities teach children about commitment, routine, and the consequences of their actions.

  7. Coping Skills: The presence of a pet can provide comfort during challenging times, helping children learn healthy ways to cope with stress, loneliness, and other emotions. The unconditional love and nonjudgmental nature of pets can be particularly reassuring for children.

  8. Allergen Exposure: Studies suggest that early exposure to pets may reduce the risk of allergies and asthma later in life. Being around animals from an early age could help the immune system develop a tolerance to potential allergens.

  9. Learning about Nature: Pets offer an opportunity for children to learn about the natural world, life cycles, and the needs of different species. This can foster a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the environment.

  10. Companionship: Pets can be valuable companions for children, especially in cases where they might feel lonely or isolated. The presence of a pet can provide unconditional friendship and companionship, helping to build self-esteem and a sense of belonging.

 

It's important to note that while there are numerous benefits to exposing children to pets, it's equally important to ensure the safety and well-being of both the child and the animal. Proper supervision, education about animal behavior and safety, and choosing appropriate pets for the family's lifestyle and capabilities are all essential considerations when introducing pets to young children.

"The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults." - Loris Malaguzzi

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