The Shoresh Outdoor School bridges meaningful Jewish learning with hands-on, nature-based experiences!
Give your kids the gift of Jewish learning…in the great outdoors! Through urban wilderness experiences, students will explore Jewish holidays and cycles, mitzvot and rituals, and ethical teachings, while being active, 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.
Looking for a safe and engaging afterschool activity? Looking for hands-on experiences for your home school pod?
We are thrilled to announce that, starting in 2021, we are creating customized Shoresh Outdoor School experiences for groups of up to 6 students! Let us design a Shoresh Outdoor School program that is convenient, creative, and unique to you!
How does it work?
Step 1: Get together a group of students! Groups can have a maximum of 6 students. Open to children in JK-Grade 8. Ideally, the age difference between the youngest and oldest group members is three years or less.
Step 2: Propose a location. Pick a local wild space that is convenient and accessible. Some of our favourite places include Earl Bales Park and Cedarvale Ravine!
Step 3: Pick a date and time, and the number of programs/session. We can meet daily, weekly, monthly…it’s up to you! A session must have a minimum of 4 programs.
Interested in finding out more? Fill out our quick Program Interest Questionnaire and we will be in touch shortly!
“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)
”[My child] lives and breathes for nature and nature-based play. It’s in those spaces he seems freest”
-Parent of Shoresh Outdoor School Participant (2018)
“[My child] has enjoyed every moment of the program and is so eager to share what she’s learned each week.”
-Parent of Shoresh Outdoor School Participant (2019)
“[My child] has been loving outdoor school. And it is so exciting to watch how much he has already learned. He told us about how the water in the ravine is going to Lake Ontario (and asked lots of questions about other rivers/ravines and if they are going to Lake Ontario). On a hike this weekend he identified garlic mustard and ate some!”
-Parent of Shoresh Outdoor School Participant (2019)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
This sounds AMAZING!!! How do I register?
To register, you first need to complete our Program Interest Questionnaire. Once we have received your questionnaire and matched you with one of our trained Jewish environmental educators, we will send you a link to officially register for the Shoresh Outdoor School and submit program payment.
What does a session of the Shoresh Outdoor School cost?
The total program fee depends on the number of students/group, the length of the program, and the number of programs in a session. Program fees start as low as $24/student/program.
The following charts shows how we calculate the total program fee/student. Please note that for fewer than 4 students/group, we divide the group program fee for 4 students by the number of students registered.
What does Jewish outdoor education look like at the Shoresh Outdoor School?
The Shoresh Outdoor School is designed to bridge Jewish learning with hands-on, nature-based activities. Through time spent in the great outdoors, students will explore Jewish holidays and cycles, mitzvot and rituals, and ethical teachings, while being active, building community, and experiencing moments of deep nature connection. Our daily schedule is based on the eight-shields model designed by Jon Young, allowing our guides to provide structure while following the natural interests and passions of our students. As well, students are collectively earning badges (think Scouts!) each program as they demonstrate new knowledge and skills.
Jewish Nature Badges? Sounds super awesome…but why?
Badge learning is a proven method to motivate children and increase their excitement for learning. Each program, 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.
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.”
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.
What happens in the event of rain or inclement weather?
Please note that the Shoresh Outdoor School is strictly an outdoor program. We will NOT have an indoor programing space on site. As such, children should be dressed in full rain gear and/or lots of warm layers so that they can comfortably be outside for the full duration of the program.
In the event of rain, our guides will make use of naturally sheltered areas in the ravine.
In the event of extreme weather, such as lightning storms, extreme cold alerts, or any other situation that the Shoresh staff deem unsafe for SOS staff and participants to be outside, the program will be rescheduled.
What should students bring with them each day?
- Healthy, litterless snacks
- A full water bottle!!!
- Closed-toed shoes, ideally somewhat waterproof for muddy days
- Rain coat, rain pants, rubber boots and/or snow pants, winter coats, hats, mittens, winter boots
- Medications, inhalers, epipens, etc.
- Small backpack
- Mask and hand sanitizer
*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.
Is there a washroom on site?
Unfortunately, many parks and ravines do not have public washrooms open at this time. We ask that you ensure students have used the washroom before meeting up with their Shoresh guides.
How are ensuring everyone’s health and safety in the age of COVID-19?
In order to ensure the health and safety of Shoresh Outdoor School students, staff, and their families, we have put measures in place that are in line with the Canadian Federal Government, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Health Canada’s recommendations in light of the current COVID-19 situation.
While participating in the Shoresh Outdoor School:
- Students are required to bring a clean mask and hand sanitizer;
- When unable to maintain two metres (6 feet) from others, students and staff will be required to wear masks, covering both their mouth and nose;
- When using program materials, students will be given individual program materials that have been cleaned beforehand and handled only by the Shoresh guide.
Parents/guardians will be required to complete and submit a daily COVID-19 screening questionnaire when dropping off students for the Shoresh Outdoor School. Please note that masks, covering both mouth and nose, are mandatory during drop-off and pick-up.
What if we need to miss a program because of illness? What if the Shoresh Outdoor School must shut down due to COVID-19?
Click here to read our cancellation policy.
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. To apply for the subsidy, please call us directly at 416-805-8382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wait! I still have more questions!
Not a problem! Please contact Risa Alyson Cooper, Director of Education/Executive Director, at 416-805-8382, or email@example.com.