Forest and Nature School Educator
Fosters meaningful connections to the outdoors for children through innovative programs and transformative learning experiences. Educators provide nurturing care in cooperation with parents, colleagues, and community professionals, by offering an inclusive and responsive, high quality, early learning environment that is developmentally appropriate, safe, and meets the needs of the children in their care. Educators follow requirements of all municipal, provincial and federal regulations, including policies and procedures of Andrew Fleck Children’s Services: and the policies of Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) deemed as relevant, by Directors of AFCS, for the outdoor Forest and nature school program.
Defination Forest and Nature School:
We define ‘Forest and Nature School’ as an ethos and practice that includes regular and repeated access to the same natural space, which supports a pedagogical framework of play-based, emergent, and inquiry-driven learning. A focus of this pedagogical approach is in building strong relationships between children and the land, children and educator, and amongst all children attending programs
- To deliver high quality forest and nature school programs to preschool and school aged childrenof varying ages. This position will be responsible for supporting the development and delivery ofeffective, high quality and safe programming with a focus on representing the pedagogy of FNSand putting children and families first.
- To perform duties in accordance with the mission statement and core values of AFCS and themandate of AFCS Group Child Care Program.
- To provide a high quality, inclusive, child care program in a group setting that meets diverseneeds and promotes optimum physical, emotional, social, cognitive and intellectualdevelopment of the children in care.
Duties will include but not be limited to:
- Plans, develops, and implements an inclusive, play-based, developmentally appropriate program for the children that is responsive to cultural diversity and reflects children’s interests. Identifies appropriate strategies, accesses the necessary resources and designs curriculum to ensure full participation of all children, considering ability, cultural and linguistic diversity and Indigenous identity. Provides all children with opportunities for engagement, exploration and expression. Designs the daily program to allow for appropriate amounts of uninterrupted inquiry and play-based learning in indoor and outdoor environments. Participates and leads short and long-term planning and evaluation activities for their programs
- Provides supervision of the children; implements program plans daily based on the child’s interest; prepares appropriate materials and equipment and sets up areas for planned activities; Applies knowledge and implementation of current pedagogy (e.g. How Does Learning Happen and 4 Foundations). Demonstrates knowledge on early learning theories and strategies that support development and positive interactions with children and families. Demonstrates creativity and innovation in the time spent with the children.
- Engages in supportive and respectful interactions with children to ensure they feel a sense of security and belonging. Provides a welcoming and nurturing environment by demonstrating ongoing affection, acceptance and support of each child and their unique needs; guides and assists children in activities, routines and transition times; teaches appropriate behaviours and skills through modelling, counselling, mediating, observing, questioning, demonstrating and reinforcing.
- Supports children in developing coping skills, regulating their behavior and interacting positively with others. Recognizes all children’s capacity to self-regulate and their right to be supported to develop these skills. Works with colleagues to embed early intervention strategies into the program and environment.
- Leads and /or participate in assessment meetings for children with special needs with Program Coordinator and/or other community professionals; makes recommendations to adapt programs as necessary.
- Collaboratively develops and maintains “Risk Benefits Assessments” and Ecological Assessments with ongoing revisions.
- Guides and supports ECE Assistants, Supply Educators, and Program Assistants in program activities.
- May plan and prepare snack menus for children.
- Respects confidentiality and builds collaborative, positive relationships with families, colleagues, and students. Supports, mentors, coaches and encourages colleagues and students. Uses a variety of communication methods and applies effective interpersonal skills.
- Ensures positive communication with families through regular verbal and written contact regarding program, children's progress, opportunities for involvement, special concerns and family needs; conducts parent/guardian meetings, case conferences as required. Collaborates with families to access information and resources to make informed decisions about their child. Advocates for children and families in partnership with families and colleagues.
- Designs or modifies indoor and outdoor learning environments to support children’s self-regulation, independence, reasonable risk-taking, meaningful exploration and positive interactions. Accesses the necessary resources and designs the environment to ensure safety and inclusion for all children.
- Demonstrates knowledge of child development and application about methods of observation, documentation, and assessment to support individual and group learning. Documents children’s learning experiences to reflect upon and assess children’s growth and the curriculum. Uses documentation and critical reflection to enhance the program and consider new ideas and approaches.
- Ensures the ongoing administration and coordination of the program’s activities; records attendance; adjusts schedule to ensure staff ratios are maintained; arranges replacement as required; participates in agency activities and committee meetings and consults with community professionals; monitors and reports on needed supplies; keeps Program Coordinator advised of pertinent information.
- Works in accordance with Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Standards. Maintains a healthy and safe environment; administers and maintains records of medication and first aid; records and reports accidents and serious occurrences; operates and ensures safety of all equipment including special needs equipment as required; monitors children’s health, records and reports on illness and special health conditions; cleans and disinfects and carries out other program related housekeeping duties; monitors location for health and safety hazards; opens and secures facility.
- Participates in professional development through education and training, both in-house and external and keeps up to date with developments in the field.
- Early Childhood Education diploma or degree from a recognized college or university or other equivalent educational qualifications
- Positions with regulatory bodies (e.g. RECE / OCT) will maintain good standing status
- CNAC Forest and Nature School Practitioners Course Certification or equivalent
- Minimum of 2 years of experience working with children in a group setting
- Have a keen passion and comfortability in working in the outdoors in ALL weather and ALL seasons
- Proven ability to work closely with other team members
- Sensitivity and respect for individual and cultural differences
- Commitment to social inclusion
- Well-developed skills in areas such as leadership, communication, organization, assessment and team work.
- Adequate energy level and ability to meet the physical demands of the job. Job requires frequent lifting up to 20 lbs. as well as bending, kneeling, crouching.
- Negative Vulnerable Sector Check
- Valid Standard First Aid and CPR level C
- Food Hander Certificate if required
- Able to work shifts between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- An additional language would be an asset.