Outdoor Ed Project: Outdoor Learning Is Where It’s At!
Our vision for Canada is… one where we are connected to the infinite possibilities for learning the outdoor school environment provides for all.
The students decided how to create different learning areas in our outdoors. As small groups committed to designing and implementing ideas, student teams worked to create the following areas for learning in our school yard:
Inclusion Garden: were children can meet up at a buddy bench surrounded by flowers and strawberry plants. Students feel that no one should ever feel left out.
Food Forest: several gardens where small plants and shrubs and fruit trees are planted to work together to grow and provide herbs and small fruit for exploration.
Spiritual Garden: a circular garden area where classes can meet to learn in the outdoors; symbolic of the aboriginal medicine wheel. This area is often used for classes to join with other classes.
Forest Classroom: using the existing forest area, the students created a small area for a classroom to use to be involved and immersed in nature.
All these small projects helped to involve students in creating areas in the school where they may be leaders to engage and encourage others to participate in the learning. It is vital for students to be a part of the learning in the outdoors and create a strong connection to their learning environment.
As a new school, we partnered with our community and invited the students to create new areas in our schoolyard that would enhance our outdoors and invite others to learning in the outdoors. The students were involved in all aspects of the projects and worked tirelessly on design, implementation and maintenance.
The students will continue to explore and design the next stages of learning now that all areas have been created. Ideas such as taking the herbs to create flavoured waters and teas for the school to taste to also harvesting the vegetables from the Three Sisters Garden to create a soup or stew to share with the school. The students are quite excited about the possibilities and have been encouraging others to join in on the learning.
Reflection & Celebration
As our project began, the students did some background learning in order to design and implement their ideas. They continue to be strong leaders in our outdoor learning areas. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 are involved ensuring that the project continues to be part of our learning here at our school.
The students actively participate in the care and maintenance of the gardens and learning areas and often with their families sign up for summer care and maintenance.