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Collage adds TimberNook Nature Program

May 3, 2017

Collage Day School is bringing the TimberNook experience to northeast Florida as part of the school’s primary goal of fostering the growth of whole, well-rounded and happy children who appreciate the natural world, healthy living and well being. 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.

“It is before the age of 7 years — ages traditionally known as ‘pre-academic’ — when children desperately need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds. This is best done outside where the senses are fully ignited and young bodies are challenged by the uneven and unpredictable, ever-changing terrain.”

Angela Hanscom, writer and founder of TimberNook,“The decline of play in preschoolers – and the rise in sensory issues” Washington Post

Collage Day School is one of only two schools in the nation that TimberNook has accepted as a provider for its program and the only provider in northeast Florida. Two other TimberNook programs are offered in Miami and Orlando, however, those are not associated with schools.

Collage Day School will incorporate the TimberNook program into is health & wellness program for its students, which is led by Emily Vasquez, director of health and wellness. The school will also offer TimberNook in its After-School Enrichment Program and its camps during Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer, all of which will be open to community children, in addition to its students.

Vasquez recently received five days of intensive training at TimberNook’s 60-acre wooded headquarters in Barrington, New Hampshire, where she learned different qualities and techniques that make a strong Timbernook program.

“TimberNook’s approach to creative play is so inspiring for children to get involved in their own unique way. During my training, I witnessed children improving all aspects of their development in a way that is meaningful for them rather than adult directed,” Emily Vasquez, director of Collage’s Health & Wellness program, says. “I was amazed at the accomplishments the campers achieved 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. 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.

“We can’t expect children to sit for hours on end, interspersed with little movement breaks and not expect consequences to their development. Children need at least three hours of outdoor play on a daily basis in order to foster healthy sensory and motor development.”

Angela Hanscom, “The government says kids need an hour of movement a day. Actually, they need a lot more.” Washington Post

Using her occupational therapy skill-set and ability to analyze activities for their therapeutic value, combined with her background in kinesiology, Hanscom created a program, TimberNook, 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, 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,” Angela Hanscom, founder of TimberNook, says. “Instead of limiting outdoor play, this school is embracing it. May others follow their lead.”

Collage Day School is currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year to enroll children from 3 months old through fifth grade whose parents seek an academically challenging, independent day school. Collage is passionate about providing a rich integrative curriculum designed to encourage creative thinking personalized for each student.

Parent Resource: TimberNook brochure

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