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Team Sarah

Welcome to our community of outdoor learners! I am Sarah Marshall, a Forest and Nature School Practitioner, certified through Forest School Canada and the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, and facilitator of play! My family day home is BGC Day Homes licensed, approved and monitored.  I have been operating my nature play-based day home in Cochrane for the past 18.5 years because I love learning alongside children. It is so joyful and rewarding to me to explore the wonders of nature with children. Every day is full of curiosity and wonder! I look forward to each day with my team of adventurers, working with their families, and the experiences we have.

 

I am invested in providing children in my care with what matters most in early childhood; to feel the warmth of the sunshine and breathe fresh air and a safe, relaxed, stress-free environment. A welcoming place where children are lovingly cared for, honored, valued and feel like they belong.  A place where heartening relationships flourish, and children experience lot's of happiness, laughter, and PLAY!

Learning Through Child-centered Play

Each day is cradled by a daily rhythm in a warm and nurturing family atmosphere. The theme is learning through play! The children are given the opportunity to initiate their own play experiences, they have access to variety of enchanting toys and quality materials, and all the amazing opportunities for play and supported risk taking the beautiful outdoors has to offer!

 

Hands on, mucky and messy, child-initiated fun - is the pinnacle of learning through play!

I love my role of co-learner, trusting children and giving them freedom to stretch themselves, seeing them as capable learners and involving them in their learning process.  The children's natural interests and inclinations guide the direction of our play. Through observation, documentation and reflection of my group's interests and developmental stages I introduce various provocations, loose parts and materials to support their learning and development. 

At Wild Wonders, children spend much of every day outside exploring Cochrane Ranche and other natural spaces through all the seasons and all weather. As an educator I nurture meaningful, child-led exploration and support children through the rhythm of the day. I hold space for child-centered learning through play and honour what is happening in daily moments.  

I value our Wild Wonders family community, and the connections we have are fostered through family involvement and communication. I document and share the children's learning journey with parents daily.

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Hands on, mucky and messy, child-initiated fun - is the pinnacle of learning through play!

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Healthy Attachments

As a mother and an educator, I recognize the importance of having an emotional connection to each child in my care. I believe every child needs to feel loved and connected to their caregivers. This meaningful bond and a child's sense of security supports development, learning and healthy growth. I place emphasis on respect for self, others, and the natural world. I encourage positive communication, cooperation and teamwork, self-regulation and problem solving. Autonomy is fostered and children are given agency. Children are trusted to make decisions and choices that will influence and impact their experiences and their world. I care for each child with love and affection, attention, trust and respect.

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Nutrition & Eating

Meals and snacks are pleasant and appealing, whether we are sitting on a picnic blanket under the canopy of the trees or all around the table together, bonding over our food. I love prepping, cooking and baking with the children using quality, healthy, fresh ingredients and whole foods. The children are included in meal and snack planning, prep, serving and clean up. They are viewed as competent and trusted to share the responsibility and are more than eager to expand their palate!  They enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and balanced healthy meals and snacks. Promoting a connection to our food, the children participate in activities like picking saskatoons, gooseberries and wild strawberries at the Ranche for snack, collecting rose hips in the fall for tea, picking crabapples from their favourite climbing tree in the yard to make cider, picking dandelions in our yard for jelly, harvesting veggies & fruit from our gardens, cracking and eating nuts, prepping and cooking bannock on a stick over an open fire and gathering kindling & flint & steel strikes to light a fire in our Ghillie kettle for oatmeal.

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Child to Educator Ratio

I accept children into care ages 18 months +. 

 

My 2023 team:

  1. 5 yr. old full time

  2. 4 yr. old full time

  3. 4 yr. old full time

  4. 4 yr. old full time

  5. 4 yr. old part time

  6. Drop-in (not accepting drop-in care at this time)

 

I have a small team of 4-5 children.  This enables me to provide attentive, sensitive, responsive care to each individual child, in a relaxed and warm, family-like atmosphere. 

Nature Exploration
TIME  SPACE  FREEDOM

When children come to Wild Wonders Nature Play, they step into the natural world and leave behind the rush, schedules and adult agendas. As an educator and facilitator of nature play, I trust children, value what they are doing and support their learning.

 

Children need uninterrupted periods to develop their play, time to become deeply involved, to follow their ideas through, and return to their explorations. A state of flow which provides an optimal and authentic learning experience. 

Children need space and freedom to explore and experiment at their own pace.

Children are innately curious and scientists by nature.  The outdoors provides an unmatched, rich play environment with limitless opportunities for them to wonder, explore, build and manipulate! 

 

Visiting their beloved nature sites daily and given unhurried time, space and freedom, the children are deeply engaged in playful, learning. These meaningful experiences are rooted in our minds and our hearts.

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Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart.
– Richard Louv

Indoor & Backyard Learning Environments

Our indoor play environment is on the main floor of my home, with an open design and large windows facing both east and west bringing in the warmth of natural lighting. 

I strive to create a warm and calm environment that invokes wonder, investigation and curiosity, creativity and problem solving.  The set up of invitations to play and provocations are full of rich open-ended materials.  It is a responsive and intentional space that is always evolving and changed frequently. Children can make choices independently about what they will use and how they will use it.

Our spacious, fenced backyard is surrounded by mature trees, and bushes inviting the children to climb, build shelters and pick seasonal fruit. We tend several vegetable and herb gardens, have a wood stumps climbing area, a playground, mud creation area, playhouse, ramps setup, sandbox, fairy garden and seasonal toys and equipment. Magic gnomes reside in the yard every summer and help look after our garden. As the story goes, our cheerful little gnome friends move around at night. The children delight in searching for their new hiding spots in the day and have been observed talking to the gnomes and leaving them special offerings of petals and leaves. 

Professional Development

I completed the Forest and Nature School Practitioner course with the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and Forest School Canada in May 2020. I am very excited to be on this journey of learning and delivering Forest and Nature School pedagogical theory and practical skills! 

I am a level 1 certified Early Childhood Educator (ECE), currently enrolled in the Lakeland College Level 2 ECE program. 

 

I am also an avid reader of books, research articles and magazines on the topic of early childhood, and forest and nature school ethos.

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