Wynston Long and Alexander Nichol stand on a broken tree branch, while Ellen Taylor stands next to a tree during outdoor fun time at Roots and Boots Forest School, held over March Break at the WJCC. (Healey photo)

WINDSOR JUNCTION: On March Break, most kids were taking a break from learning and spending it locally with their families or going on a trip down south.

For those taking part in the Roots for Boots Forest School, put on at the Windsor Junction Community Centre (WJCC) in Windsor Junction, they were doing the exact opposite—they were continuing to learn, while making new friends in unstructured play time.

“One of our philosophies is to give children unstructured playtime because they don’t have a lot of time where they’re not involved with scheduled programming,” said Kellie Allen, co-director of the Forest School. “When they get out in the woods, they’re imaginations just go wild. They start to build things. They’re learning social skills, physical literacy and they’re having a lot of fun just playing with each other out in the woods.

Tessa Wolthers shows off the feather she found in the woods during non-structured play time as part of the Forest School in Windsor Junction on March Break. (Healey photo)

The week-long camp ran everyday at the WJCC from March 12-16. Even the threat of Mother Nature bringing three Nor’easters to the area didn’t put any stoppage to the fun and activities at the school.

Carleigh Sinclair, an employee on this day March 13 when The Laker stopped by, said it was nice to have some snow as it adds to the fun for the kids.

“It’s been a blast,” she said. “It’s been really neat to see all the kids get used to being in the woods, and each other. It’s neat to see them build their social skills and working together.

“It’s really neat to see the kids make use of the snow and see what they can do with that.”

Allen praised the WJCC for being a great volunteer-run community group.

“They have been amazing to work with,” she said. “We have had a fantastic partnership so far. Colleen (Menard) is so on the ball and so organized. All the kids and families that have attended have been great.”

The kids at Roots and Boots Forest School on March 13 were all smiles at getting outside in the non-structured playtime, while being social with new friends at the WJCC. (Healey photo)

Is there a chance for future Roots for Boots Forest School camps at the WJCC down the road, like March Break 2019? Time will tell.

“Here’s hoping,” said Allen. “We would do as much of this as we could.”

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Pat Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!