“Do you go out when it’s this cold?”

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The answer is yes!!- There’s no bad weather- only bad clothing! Hillside is stocked with all the necessary items for warmth.  Don’t have warm boots? We’ve got you covered! need thick mittens? No problem! We’ve taken donations from schools and also have a local church group who generously knits mittens for us.  We have neck warmers and coats, snow pants and more.  As for the winter- there are awesome learning opportunities out there. Never mind once the snow arrives- the excitement of seeing tracks in the snow, following the story of the animals and birds…the sparkle and beauty of the flakes as they fall, games and snowshoeing!   Even at this time before the snow, there is much to be learned- who is still here, and how are they preparing for winter? Experiments with warm water bottles, students trying to insulate as animals would to trap in the heat… We don’t let a little cold weather slow us down! Come see for yourself- if you have booked a visit in spring or fall in the past, try something new- you’ll be glad you did!

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Getting to Know Hillside

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Well, here it is already NOVEMBER! and I’m writing my first official Blog for Hillside as new Site Supervisor after Cheryl Shannon’s retirement.

People often ask me if I’m loving it here…

I can’t lie, this is truly a special place with incredible staff! I feel very fortunate.

Schools, we will be sending out emails from time to time letting you know of resources or outdoor opportunities so you can continue learning in nature.  There is some fantastic research out there on the benefits of outdoor play and learning- here are a few websites to check out for great resources to get you started, and to look deeper into the research on how being outside in nature can improve focus, reduce stress and anxiety, improve well-being and achievement among other things:


Click on the Resources bar to get INTO NATURE (K-8) and READY, SET, WONDER (early years) , two free and excellent curriculum-linked outdoor activity related resources.



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photo credit: My-Linh Coleman


Keep an eye out as well for the second edition of Natural Curiosity, to be released soon, which has an amazing Indigenous focus this time around.

Finally, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for up to the minute news and photos @HillsideOE.

Yours in nature,

Krista Kilian and the Hillside Staff





Thank You Home Depot

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A great big Thank You goes out to the Home Depot near Morningside and Sheppard for their generation donation that allowed us to plant our garden with a variety of vegetables and herbs.  While you cannot see them all yet, we are looking forward to when the first sprouts are seen, and of course to the delicious food the students of Hillside will be able to taste.

Art, Art, Art! We Love Nature Art!

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Have a look as some of the fantastic pieces of Art created by Ms D’Souza’s class from Wm Tredway/JS Woodsworth school.

Such wonderful work.  We hope you enjoy the artwork as much as we do.

We’ve Had a Lot of Rain Lately

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Water levels in the Rouge River are very high right now.  But also, Lake Ontario has high water levels as well.  However, the recent rain over the weekend, plus the rain from today, and forecasted for all week will certainly make water levels extremely high.

Hillside’s Inquiry Centres

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At Hillside, we have been working on creating a variety of inquiry stations.  Places where students can work with the items to learn independently or with friends on our water-wall, music-wall, sandbox, watertable, drawing and weaving centres.

We’d like to thank Erin, our intern, for helping to create some of these fabulous centres.


Sometimes Coming to Work…

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is a spectacular start to the day.  Today was just that, a beautiful sunrise that could not be missed, and we had to take the time to just enjoy.