The SK/1 class at Holy Name is spending most of their learning time outdoors this year. Last spring several parents donated items to create an outdoor classroom and playspace including large rocks, tires, sand, a mud kitchen, stumps, soil, and logs. With full support from principal Brent Langan, the students have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with nature in their new learning environment.
Over the course of this year, we’ve noticed an increase in student physical activity. They develop stronger problem-solving and communication skills through group activities. Several curriculum areas are addressed when connecting with nature, including math, science, language, and personal & social development. Students are happier and completely engaged when outside. They are building positive & co-operative relationships with their peers while becoming familiar with our environment. They document changes in the seasons and the weather and have become avid observers of all living plants and animals.
At Holy Name, our primary students are encouraged to engage in student-led inquiry based activities. This allows children to initiate their own learning experiences with teacher available as support. Our outdoor classroom provides countless inquiries for students. Also, we are fortunate to be surrounded by green space while backing onto the Grand Trunk Trail. Having these areas available within walking distance creates several opportunities to explore nature.
This year we’ve studied snails, trees, earthworms, & birds. We have inquired about the weather (snow, fog, clouds, rainbows), how to build animal habitats, what animals need to survive…the possibilities for learning are endless. Our current area of interest is planting. With the support of parent volunteers and donations of soil and seeds, we are in the process of planting a vegetable garden.
Holy Name is fundraising for a more elaborate natural outdoor learning area that will allow for more classes to learn outdoors.