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Fire/Forest Fridays

Get learning outdoors on the land, with the land, and about the land.

Fire/Forest Fridays aims to move learning out of the traditional classroom environment into the outdoor natural environment in a play-based, experiential learning way. Our innovation includes all students and can be practiced right on the school grounds. This leads to benefits in behavior, community building, learning, and allows us to focus on a First Nations way of knowing.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students basic
April 2024
We hope to see students engaged in experiential play based learning in outdoor environment settings. We hope to augment our current traditional school practices with more Indigenous ways of knowing and being. We hope we can move students out of desks in rows (traditional learning environment) and get them learning on the land.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

We created Fire Fridays as an extension of our play-based experiential learning model to get students outside to learn curricular outcomes on and with the land. In addition to curricular outcomes, we wanted to find a way to develop relationships, improve culture, and build community. It is a targeted intervention to include more indigenous ways of knowing for our First Nations student population

What does your innovation look like in practice?

In the beginning, we started Fire Fridays with two project groups (a grade 1 and a grade 6/7 split). They each went out onto our school playground every Friday, with their homeroom teacher and our project lead teacher, to work on curricular outcomes. We build a fire and we always begin around the fire with what the learning is going to be for the afternoon. Our program has now evolved to include other homerooms in our school as teachers are eager to jump onboard. Currently, we are now travelling with two different homerooms every Friday for the entire day to a city run park that is located in the forest near our community. This forested park area is ideal as it has washroom facilities, firepits, warm-up shelters, access to water, and lots of room. As mentioned earlier, when the students arrive at Forest/Fire Fridays we start around the fire. The students then move on to planned curricular activities, with time built in for exploratory play.

How has it been spreading?

The project groups we started with were selected because the homeroom teachers were eager to participate in Fire Fridays. These two groups were the only groups for the first five months. Once the other homeroom teachers started seeing the learning, behavioral, and relationship benefits, they also wanted to participate in Fire Fridays. As we have just started with this program, the main achievement to date was onboarding those reluctant teachers. Now that all our teachers are on board, our goal for the next year or two will be to increase the amount of groups and time focused on Fire Fridays. For example, we hope to expand from 2 groups to 4 or 5 groups we take out to Forest Fridays or have the program over multiple days, not just Friday.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The beauty of this program is it can be scaled to fit your local context. The most important aspect is the fire itself, so you will need a firepit or fire container that can be the central focus of your program. I would start small with one or two groups and focus on experiential curricular outcomes/activities you can do outside around the fire or with the fire itself.


Implementation steps

Step #1 Resource Gathering for Fire
As the fire is an important aspect of Fire/Forest Fridays, the first step is to get an acceptable container you can have a fire in, like a firepit. You will also need to acquire wood in order to have something to burn for the fire. It is a good idea to also have a bucket of water nearby or a fire blanket for safety reasons in case your fire gets out of control. Make sure you are aware of any policies, bylaws, or laws regarding having a fire in your area.
Step #2 Planning for Activities
Using your curriculum outcomes/standards, begin planning experiential play based learning activities that could be done outdoors. This would be a good time to contact outside agencies if you need support, i.e., contact a First Nations elder to see if they can help, etc. Most curricular outcomes/standards can be met in an outdoor setting!

Spread of the innovation

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