Shoresh Outdoor School Updates 2023-24

Shoresh Outdoor School flyer

As you will see, we have made some changes to our program offerings this year. You can read more about how we came to these decisions and our intentions for Shoresh programs moving forward below. 

We are so grateful to all the incredible young people and families who have been part of the Shoresh Outdoor School community over the years, and are excited to keep adapting and growing together.  


This year’s programs

Sunday Afternoons East End: this option will be similar to the past couple of years but with a new location (Riverdale Park) and slightly longer sessions (7 week seasons instead of 6, and 2 hour sessions instead of 1.5) and with separate cohorts for younger and older participants.

Sunday Mornings West End: We love Cedarvale Ravine as an outdoor school location and have found it a challenge to find a day and time that works for after school in this neighbourhood! We are hopeful that many of those of you who have joined us on various weekdays over the years will be able to gather here on Sunday mornings for a longer (7 weeks of 2 hour sessions) and stronger program season with both younger and older cohorts of participants.

Shoresh After School: A number of families expressed that their only availability and interest is in an after school program. In response to this, we have been trying to brainstorm the best location for the most people, which is a hard task given our community is spread out all over the GTA! We are intending to offer this program on Tuesdays after school (4-5:30 PM, with school pickup available from certain schools within a 10 minute walk or TTC distance).

Please note: We will only be able to confirm this session once we reach minimum registration. We request that you complete your registration as soon as possible so that we can confirm the program. If we are unable to reach the minimum required participants by September 15, we will let you know and fully refund your deposit.

Shoresh Outdoor School West
Cedarvale Ravine
Sundays, 9:30 – 11:30 am
For ages JK – Gr 6
Shoresh Outdoor School East
Riverdale Park
Sundays, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
For ages JK – Gr 6
Shoresh After School
Location TBD based on demand
Tuesdays, 4 – 5:30 pm (school pickup from 3 pm)
For ages JK – Gr 4

Why These Changes?

In response to our own evaluations as well as feedback from previous and prospective participants and caregivers, we are making some changes to the structure of the program this year. Please read on for the reasoning behind these changes, or simply scroll down for the program options for the coming school year!

Days and Times: As we have expanded from the small neighbourhood oriented groups that were started during COVID, it has been a challenge to find days, times, and locations that work for everyone. We found that the group that met on Sundays was most consistently popular, and along with the participants and caregivers there, we were able to cultivate a welcoming and engaged program. At the programs after school, there were more competing energies, with some participants who were keen to learn specific skills and engage in structured activities, while others really needed a chance to decompress from the long school day, freely explore and play in the forest in a fun, safe way. This has us leaning towards Sundays as our goals for outdoor school participants to develop Jewish environmental values, naturalist and wilderness skills, and feel a part of a welcoming community of learning and practice, seem to be more possibly and consistently achievable on the weekend, when many of the children are generally more relaxed and energized. 

On the other hand, we are aware that many people in our community appreciate the after school program as a necessary childcare option, and are unavailable on Sundays due to other commitments. We are interested in seeing a Shoresh after-school option with significantly looser educational goals. The main expectation for this program will be a safe-as-necessary, fun opportunity to freely explore and play in the forest, with our caring and skilled educators available to support with games, crafts, and activities for those interested.

Location: We have noted that we have been outgrowing some of our most popular locations (Williamson Ravine and Bickford Park), and feel that the participants generally, and the Shoresh community as a whole, will benefit from being in a space with more room for playing and exploring at different paces. With this in mind, we will be holding our main outdoor school programs at our beloved summer camp locations, Riverdale Park in the east end/downtown, and Cedarvale in the midtown/west end area. 

Program Content: Another way we’ve been growing that has become apparent is as many of our awesome students have been growing older, gaining confidence and experience, they are ready to take on more challenging wilderness skills and go on longer and more varied hikes. This year, we are excited to offer a cohort specifically geared towards older participants (grades 3-6), that will delve deeper into these skills, Jewish and naturalist learning, and building community and leadership.  The registration, times, dates, locations, and fees for this cohort will be the same as for the younger (JK-grade 2) group.  

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