Jamie Black, who has a background as an outdoor guide, has created a video-game style after school program in Errington.
Black began running the program Wild Free Play back in January when she took over the after school program at Errington Hall. She said she gave the parents a warning in how her program would differ from the previous program.
“Here’s a warning, I’ve been an outdoor guide for 15 years, this is going to be a program. Yes, I’ll let them have a lots of free time, and the majority of my program is free play in the context of this video game feel.”
She said parents were keen on the idea because of the educational aspect and life skill developments. Black said a few of the kids in the program didn’t need after school care, but still come because they want to.
Black she said allows the kids to enhance their self-awareness while also developing collaboration and communication skills with each other.
She said she uses a guided discovery technique which allows the children to make the decisions and have “safe fails,” which lets the children ask questions while she guides them through their own process but not giving direct answers.
“It’s encouraging for them to be their own little researchers and problem solvers in their own way,” Black said. But she added the group will sometimes use rock, paper, scissors to solve problems quickly.
Over the months, Black said the kids have voted on becoming ambassadors of the whole region.
“Any time anything happens, like when a flower is broken, they tell me. Or when somebody has drawn graffiti on the new stage, they tell me,” Black said. “So they’re really conscientious about this whole space and they want to take care of it, and that makes my heart smile.”
Lydia Johnson, one of the girls in the program said it’s a fun after school program. Her mom, Lorien Hammond since Lydia has been going to Wild Craft Play, Lydia has “gained confidence outdoors as well as confidence in herself and in her choices.”
Wild Craft Play is having a fundraiser May 28 at 8:30 p.m. at Errington Park on the outdoor stage. There will be live music, dancers and a fire show.
Tickets are $25 or $35 for families, and can be purchased at Errington General Store (1544 Grafton Ave.) and Outsider Adventures in Qualicum Beach (138 West Second Ave.)