Collage Day School is bringing the TimberNook outdoor experience to Northeast Florida, becoming just one of two schools in the nation to offer the therapeutic program that uses fun outdoor play to foster better balance and coordination.
The TimberNook program combines the therapeutic aspects of nature with child development research and experience to create an outdoor program that supports every aspect of the growing child. Each program is uniquely created for the location, provider and ages of children.
Collage Day School will incorporate the TimberNook program into its health and wellness program, led by Emily Vasquez. The school will also offer TimberNook in its after-school enrichment program and its camps during winter break, spring break and summer. Each of those programs will be open to children in the community as well as Collage students.
“TimberNook’s approach to creative play is so inspiring for children to get involved in their own unique way,” said Vasquez, who recently received five days of intensive training at TimberNook’s 60-acre wooded headquarters in New Hampshire. “During my training, I witnessed children improving all aspects of their development in a way that is meaningful for them rather than adult directed.”
Director of Collage’s health and wellness program, Vasquez said she was amazed at the accomplishments she witnessed children achieving on a daily basis. “The best part was when the children recognized those achievements and showed their excitement in the form of cheers and high fives,” she said. “TimberNook is a perfect fit for Collage, as it benefits the whole child while adding all that nature has to offer.”
TimberNook was founded by Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, who noticed that the kids in her children’s circle of friends in Barrington, New Hampshire, rarely played outdoors anymore. She became concerned when she observed that children, in general, seemed weaker, had poorer balance and were less creative than they should be based on their developmental ages.
Drawing on her occupational therapy training and her background in kinesiology, Hanscom created the TimberNook program that places children outdoors while enhancing and fostering child development. The award-winning nature-based program has since gained international popularity, with providers in 11 U.S. states as well as Australia and New Zealand.
“I'm beyond excited to see a school such as Collage become a model for integrating TimberNook programs, which focus on meaningful play experiences outdoors that inspire and challenge the mind and body throughout the school year,” Hanscom said. “Instead of limiting outdoor play, this school is embracing it. May others follow their lead.”