Nitzanim: Shoresh’s Toddler Program

It’s never too early to connect to the earth. 

Babies (under 24 months old) or toddlers (24 to 40 months old) and their caregivers are invited to explore the water, mud, sticks, and stones in the great outdoors with Shoresh’s nature guide and educator, Andrea Schaffer

Together, we will adventure through parks and ravines in a toddler-friendly manner while exploring nature and making connections to Jewish values and holidays. 

Upcoming Spring Session(s) 

Nitzanim Parents and Toddlers (24 to 40 months) 

Sundays at Cedarvale 
Session 1: March 31 – April 21 (10:00 – 11:00)
Session 2:  May 5 – June 2 (10:00 – 11: 00) 

The cost for this 4 week program is $110.

Thursdays at Bickford Park
Session 1:  April 4  – May 16 (10:30 – 11:30)
The cost for this 6 week program is $165.

Nitzanim Parents and Babies (0 to 24 months)

Thursdays at Bickford Park
Session 1:  April 4  – May 16 (11:30 – 12:30) *6 weeks*
The cost for this 6 week program is $165.

Sliding scale pricing is available on the registration website, and we request that you select a price point based on your family’s capacity.

We are grateful to be able to provide financial scholarships through the Michelle Kopman Memorial Fund for Nature-Based Education. To apply to this fund, please register and select the Michelle Kopman Memorial Scholarship Fund option. You will be asked to pay an $18 deposit and then let us know what amount your family is able to afford.

To contribute to the fund and support community members in accessing Jewish learning outdoors, please click here.

If you have any questions about the Nitzanim programs, please email

If you need help with your registration, please email

Frequently Asked Questions 

How big is the group? 

The group will be no more than 10 youngsters. 

What if I have multiple children of different ages? 

If you want to join Nitzanim with two children, you are eligible for our sibling discount. When registering, be sure to sign up for the group that is suitable for your older child. The younger one will have a blast no matter what. So come and join a community program with many helping hands.   

Is there a washroom on site? 

There are public washrooms available at our programming spaces.  Still, washrooms in parks and ravines are not always open.  We ask that you ensure participants to whom this does apply have used the washroom before the program.  

What happens in the event of rain or inclement weather? 

Nitzanim is an outdoor program, and we will not have an indoor programming space to offer. With that in mind, children should be dressed for the weather and spare clothes and layers should always be brought along. In the event of light rain, those that are comfortable enjoying the great outdoors and digging for worms and snails are welcome. If the weather is not safe for outdoor play, we will notify all participants via email an hour before the start time.  

FAQs for Nitzanim Toddlers (18 to 40 months) 

What does Jewish outdoor education look like for toddlers? 

The Nitzanim program is designed to help caregivers and toddlers experience hands-on nature-based learning activities through a Jewish lens. For toddlers, this looks like a song circle with songs that connect to our environmental theme of the week and incorporate Jewish teachings or the Hebrew language. Songs are repeated often to allow toddlers to develop new vocabulary words. Toddlers enjoy moving and exploring, so after this short song circle, moving is what we do at Nitzanim. Toddlers enjoy exploring leaves, rocks, and mud using their hands. Toddlers enjoy and can hike up short hills, even following trails through the forest and stopping to notice interesting bugs and plants. At Nitzanim, we also learn about Jewish holidays and incorporate sensory play by presenting toddlers with sensory bins filled with natural materials. Finally, during our Nitzanim program we respect and respond to the needs of the children. If playing in the pond is just so much fun, we continue with that activity. If mud isn’t a hit, we move on to something else. Toddlers love exploring the outdoors and benefit so much from the fresh air and from experiential learning. Caregivers also learn ways to engage a child with the outdoors while teaching Jewish values. With caregivers present and engaged a safe environment is created and a community is built as time together in nature is good for all. 

What do you need to bring for yourself and your toddler? 
  • Healthy, energising snacks (but try to eat a good snack before the program)  
  • A full water bottle 
  • Closed toed shoes, waterproof shoes or boots for rainy days 
  • Raincoat, rain pants for rainy days 
  • Snowsuit
  • Hand sanitiser 
  • We wipes are sometimes helpful
  • Medications, inhalers, epipen, etc. (Your Shoresh educator will also have a first aid kit)  
  • Change of clothes 
  • Diapers if needed 

FAQs for Nitzanim Parents and Babies (under 18 months) 

What does Jewish outdoor education look like for caregivers and babies? 

Have you ever held a crying baby and then taken the baby outdoors to smell the fresh air? Have you noticed that this small move has soothed the baby’s cries? As a mother of three I can tell you that I have experienced this often. I also recall some of the best baby naps happening outdoors and can picture my babies seeing the leaves from a tree as the greatest most exciting mobile to ever exist. Little hands reach for the leaves, little hands reach for the grass and the mud with pure joy and curiosity. Little eyes open wide to the sight of wildflowers, to the bees and butterflies that flutter by. Shoresh’s Nitzanim program will give your baby these experiences. It will sooth and it will inspire. Outdoor education for babies is really taken a time in your day, or in your week to be fully present in nature with your child. At Nitzanim, caregivers and babies have forty-five minutes to spend outdoors developing awe and wonder for the creations in our world. While babies can be stimulated and soothed, to explore on walks and to play with natural items in a safe way, caregivers will have the chance to learn; to learn how to engage our little ones in safe outdoor sensory play. Through connections with other caregivers and with Shoresh educators, a toolbox for outdoor play will be built. More so, as a Jewish Education program, caregivers will learn about Judaism as it relates to our environment. We will learn about the agricultural component of our holidays and other Jewish practices that connect to nature.  

What do you need to bring for yourself and your baby? 
  • A stroller for walks through the ravine
  • A carrier for walks that are not stroller accessible
  • A diaper bag with all essentials, wipes, change of clothes, snacks
  • Each week participants will take turns bringing a snack to share with the group (kosher, nut free and nothing that needs to be prepared in a kitchen)
How do you make outdoor play safe for babies? 

Babies often put items in their mouths, so all organised sensory bins will contain items that are safe for those that do mouth. With that said, caregivers must also always be watching to be sure that his or her child is engaging safely with materials. A one-to-one ratio of adults to youngsters makes it easier to explore safely, and caregivers will be encouraged to allow children to handle sticks, rocks and mud under close supervision. Walks through the ravine will be stroller accessible most of the time. Participants will be notified when a session will involve a hike requiring a carrier. Hikes will never be off a trail. After engaging in messy play, there will always be ways to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser. 

What if my baby is napping during the program? 

Nitzanim for those with babies is meant as much for the caregiver as it is for the baby. Even if the baby is napping, caregivers can enjoy learning and connecting with nature and other like-minded caregivers.

To register, click here!

Still have questions? For more information, email


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