Shoresh Outdoor School

The Shoresh Outdoor School…bringing together wilderness experiences, organic farming, and Jewish learning!


Give your kids the gift of Jewish learning…in the great outdoors!  The Shoresh Outdoor School is designed to bridge Jewish learning with hands-on garden and nature-based activities.  While exploring Jewish holidays and cycles, mitzvot and rituals, and ethical teachings, students will collectively earn badges (think Scouts!) while being active outdoors, building community, and experiencing moments of deep nature connection.  The Shoresh Outdoor School is pluralistic and open to the many ways that our community members live and learn Jewishly.

Now in two locations!  Join us at the Kavanah Garden in Vaughan or Cedarvale Ravine in Midtown Toronto!

Now for JK-Grade 6!  Sign up for our Zeraim/Seeds Program (Kindergarten), our Nevatim/Sprouts Program (Grades 1-3), or our Shorashim/Roots Program (Grades 4-6).

The Shoresh Outdoor School is made possible thanks to seed funding from UJA Federation’s Julie and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Education and the WOW! Grant Committee. Subsidies are available thanks to the Michelle Kopman Memorial Fund for Nature-Based Education.



Kavanah Garden (Vaughan)
145 Lebovic Campus Drive
Wednesdays, May 8 – June 19, 2019 (7 sessions)
4:00-5:30pm (before-care available starting at 3:30pm)

Cedarvale Ravine (Midtown Toronto)
443 Arlington Avenue
Thursdays, May 9 – June 20, 2019 (7 sessions)
4:00-5:30pm (before-care available starting at 3:30pm)

For more information, please contact the coordinator of the Shoresh Outdoor School, Beth Denaburg, at 416-805-8382 or

“The girls LOVED their time in the garden yesterday! [They] talked to me about the forest this morning on our walk to school. They both wished that Shoresh Outdoor School could be every day, all day long!  Thank you for putting so much energy into creating and implementing such a wonderful program. WOW!”
-Parent of Shoresh Outdoor School Participants (2017)


This sounds AMAZING!!!  How do I register?
To register, please fill out the Shoresh Outdoor School Registration Form. If you have any questions, contact  Once we receive your registration form, we will follow up with a confirmation e-mail that we have received your application, along with payment instructions.  Please note that your child is not registered (and your spot is not reserved) until payment has been received.

Where is pick up and drop off for the Shoresh Outdoor School?
Pick up and drop off for the Shoresh Outdoor School Kavanah Garden location is at Shoresh’s Kavanah Garden in Vaughan.  The Kavanah Garden is located at 145 Lebovic Campus Drive, west of Ilan Ramon Blvd.
Pick up and drop off for the Shoresh Outdoor School Cedarvale Ravine location is at the picnic table by the farthest end of the parking lot of the Phil White Arena at 443 Arlington Avenue.
There is a possibility for student pick up from local public and day schools within walking distance – please contact for more information or to coordinate.

Will snacks be provided?
Please send students with a litterless, nut free, healthy after-school snack and a FULL reusable water bottle. As part of the program, students will sometimes have an opportunity to make their own nutritious snacks such as sun tea, salad, and smoothies (made with our bicycle powered blender!).  Any ingredients used will be certified kosher and vegetarian. Please inform us of any food allergies.

What is Jewish Pluralism?
The Shoresh Outdoor School is a pluralistic program that welcomes Jews of all different backgrounds and affiliations. While learning about Jewish ethical teachings, holidays celebrations, rituals, and prayer, we will be open to the many different ways that our community members interpret these traditions and how they choose to live and learn “Jewishly.”

Jewish Nature Badges?  Sounds super awesome…but why?
Badge learning is a proven method to motivate children and increase their excitement for learning.   Each week, students will collectively work on badges in five different categories:
Shomrei Adamah (Keepers of the Earth) – Badges include Seed Saving, Native Plants, and Soil
Shomrei Chayot (Keepers of the Animals) – Badges include Animal Habitats, Insects, and Pollinators
Shomrei Atzmi (Keepers of my Self) – Badges include Outdoor Cooking, Shelter Building, and Wild Edibles
Shomrei Kehila (Keepers of Community) – Badges include Tzedakah, Active Listening, Teamwork
Shomrei Masoret (Keepers of Tradition) – Badges include Rosh Chodesh, Sukkot, Shabbat, and Havdallah
Badges will be awarded at Closing Circle each afternoon and featured in students’ Nature Journals.

Why do Jewish Education outdoors?
Please read our blog posts on Why We’re Starting the Shoresh Outdoor School and why we think it’s important to Take Jewish Education Outdoors.

What happens each week at the Shoresh Outdoor School?
Our daily schedule is based in the eight-shields model designed by Jon Young.  The structure of each week’s program is as follows:
3:30-4:00pm Rolling arrivals and snacktime
4:00-4:15pm Opening Circle and Song
4:15-4:25pm Get in Your Guf (active, movement focused activity)
4:25-4:30pm Sit Spot (quiet and reflective activity)
4:30-4:50pm Garden-Based Activity
4:50-5:00pm Water Break
5:00-5:20pm Forest-Based Activity
5:20-5:30pm Closing Circle and Song
Each activity is hands-on, experiential, and creatively weaves in Jewish texts and teachings.

Is there a washroom on site?
For the Kavanah Garden location, there is a portable washroom facility on site.  For the Cedarvale Ravine location, students will be allowed to access the washrooms at the Phil White Arena and Leo Baeck Day School (thanks Leo Baeck!!!).

What happens in the event of rain?
In the event of light rain, programs will run as usual, making use of natural shelters and covered spaces. The Shoresh Outdoor School is an outdoor program and parents should make sure to send their children with full rain gear and lots of warm layers. In the event of extreme weather, students at the Kavanah Garden location will meet at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre at the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus (thanks SRC!), and students at the Cedarvale Ravine location will meet at the Leo Baeck Day School (thanks Leo Baeck!).

What should students bring with them each day?
• Closed-toed shoes
• Rubber boots (for river exploration)
• Brimmed hat
• Rain gear (Every day!!!! Just in case!)
• Sunglasses
• Extra socks
• Extra layers
• Medications, inhalers, epipens, etc.
• Sunscreen
• Small backpack
• Snacks
• A full water bottle!!!
*Please remember that the Shoresh Outdoor School is an outdoor nature program and your child will be spending time playing outside rain or shine. Please dress your child in weather appropriate clothing that can get dirty.

Who are the staff?
The Shoresh Outdoor School is staffed by an allstar team of educators! All staff have undergone hands-on training in outdoor Jewish environmental education and are truly gifted at communicating the awe and wonder they experience relating to the natural world.   At the Shoresh Outdoor School, our staff:child ratio is 1:6.  All staff are first aid trained and certified.

Again, this sounds AMAZING!!!  Are subsidies available?
Yes, limited subsidies are available from the Michelle Kopman Memorial Fund for Nature-Based Education. This fund was set up in 2018 by the family and friends of Michelle Kopman (z”l) to help support our work offering children meaningful opportunities for nature-connection, rooted in Jewish values and teachings. Fill out the Shoresh Outdoor School Registration Form, and we will be in touch.

Wait! I still have more questions!
Not a problem! Please contact Beth Denaburg, Director of Programs, at 416-805-8382, or




© 2018 Shoresh.