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Our Dream

Expand Expectations

Hudson Forest Play was formed with a simple vision: to empower children by connecting them with nature. 

Our mission is to enhance well-being by spending time outside where children play, explore and learn every day!

Imagine a 'one-room schoolhouse' where different age groups interact, inquire and play with the elements of nature. Community leaders, parents, grandparents, toddlers and children gather to learn together, from each other and to inquire about the world. Learning is experienced through play, social interactions and wonder. Imagine this one-room schoolhouse in nature, no walls, desks or screens. No barriers, it only requires our own paradigm shift. Nature's classroom awaits!

Our 'forest play' dream was to discover a safe space where children can come together to connect with nature, the land, and community. A space where children have the freedom to choose to explore and learn in a variety of ways, guided by their interests. A place where nature organically becomes a space for learning to happen in the forest with the natural interplay between indoor and outdoor elements. It is a place and time where students develop a relationship with nature, the land, other students, teachers and community members; through experiential learning.

To achieve this, we explored a variety of spaces where children can connect with the land and community, and then we found Hudson, or Hudson found us!

The Town of Hudson is an ideal location and community of inspiring leaders. With over 135 acres of protected land, the city takes action to protect its ecosystems, promote biodiversity, and conserve its environment; specifically, protection of wetlands, woods and waterways.

Teacher: child ratios are kept low at 1:6 to ensure safety in the learning environment and to cultivate building transformational relationships with each other, the community, and the land. As lifelong learners, we intentionally join children in the opportunity to learn about the land together, to gain a greater appreciation for our environment, and to grow in our understanding of ourselves. 

In addition, the founders and teachers have a wealth of expertise, experiences and passions that have led to this dream. Living for 10 years in Asia, working as leaders in International Schools where nature bathing was a daily and common pedagogical practice. Hearing the sounds of bamboo leaves whistling songs, watching the beauty of rice paddies growing with the seasons and smelling the rich aromas of ancient spices brewing in our neighboring kitchens.  Our love for and connectedness to nature, children and learning transcends anything that can be imagined in a classroom. In addition, we train teachers in inquiry-based, child-centred learning and teaching with the reputable and world-class International Baccalaureate. We have explored the world with our own children and led professional workshops outdoors with hundreds of educators to experience the powerful impact nature has on improving wellbeing. Our hope is to create a community where these experiences can happen for your children, families, community and for anyone willing to play, explore and learn at any age!

Our Dream: About
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Our Journey

It all began here

Eleven years ago we took a leap of faith with our desire to travel, and left Canada to explore the world as a family. Matthew, had been teaching in the Early Years with the Calgary Board of Education and Mei-Lyn, was working in medical outreach with Pfizer Canada. Our children; Mya, Summer and Oscar; were 7, 4 and one year old at the time. We had a desire to see, learn and be present with life while travelling and discovering new cultures, flavours and landscapes of the world. Over a period of ten years, China and South Korea welcomed us with open arms! Mei-Lyn gained her Master's in Education; Curriculum and Instruction and quickly fuelled her passion for learning by collaborating with teachers, taking on leadership opportunities, designing pedagogy and the impact of mindfully being in and learning as a community in nature. Matthew's passion for learning and teaching in the early years grew deeper in his professional journey by exploring different roles in education, advocating for Early Years children as capable learners, and finding enormous value in expanding classroom walls to learn in outdoor spaces, connecting with nature. 

Due to the COVID pandemic and personal family struggles we returned to Canada in the summer of 2021. Living and being close to extended family was essential while we prioritized healing our mental health and wellbeing. We landed safely in Saint-Lazare.

We have always dreamed of opening our own school, creating a safe and loving community where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Our experiences abroad have heightened our knowledge and understanding of what an 'ideal school' might look like. Our dreams have grown and expanded to include the outdoors as an important element to cultivate a deep appreciation and connection with nature, the land and the people that surround us.

Hudson Forest Play is our dream come true. The parks and community of The Town of Hudson have helped bring our dream to reality and fuelled our creativity to explore this space with other teachers, children and families.

Read more about our story here: Freeman Family, Leaders in Education

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