Outdoor Classrooms - The New Norm
With the current pandemic sweeping across the Globe we are all finding ourselves facing different challenges. While schools are closed a lot of parents have found that they became teachers overnight! This may be daunting to many, but I would like to highlight some ways to take the stress off of each parent and ideas to make a meaningful - and fun - learning experience.
Wild Heritage wants to invite parents and home-students to bring the classroom outside during these times!!
Time after time it has been proven that being outside in the fresh air, interacting with soil microbes and absorbing sunshine aid in boosting the immune system! The songs of birds, whirling of bees and butterflies, viewing new life emerging each day; can all help to lift moods and fill us with motivation.
Did you know that outdoor classrooms can help with producing better test scores, higher grade point averages, decreased behavior issues and reduced symptoms of ADHD!
The advantages of an outdoor classroom are vast!
Children are learning everywhere - at all times, bringing them outside allows us to nurture the whole child. Outdoor classrooms evolved from the real needs of children, offer activities that are personally meaningful to each individual, and fully embrace developmentally appropriate practices.
All subjects can be transferred to outdoors! Math, Art, Science, Critical Thinking, Literacy, Sensory & Dramatic Play... the only limitation is what we allow.
Ideas to explore in your new outdoor classroom:
Planting - vegetables, perennials & trees
Weather - patterns and tracking
Compost - turning scraps into living soil
Beneficial bugs/ Pollinators - how many different types can you find & identify
Dandelions - pollinators first food source
Plant identification - create a bingo game or list to complete
Self-led exploration and discovery - gives children time to learn being autonomous
Environmental awareness - our impact on the world around us
Writing projects - observations and new ideas
Critical thinking - what can we do to better our outdoor spaces
Pollination - how food is grown and insects survive
Outdoor cooking - getting back to heritage
Music and Arts - creating instruments and sculptures from found objects
Problem Solving - build a maze out of sticks and found objects
...The list could go on endlessly!
Did you know?
Fewer than 1 in 4 children get 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.
Nearly 200 studies on the effect of exercise on cognitive functioning suggest that
physical activity supports learning.
Ideas from the NAEYC:
Have whole group conversations about our time in nature
Make observational drawings
Put a picture on an interactive whiteboard or pass around something we had found to generate theories or wonderings
Create representations of what we are researching using paints, clay, wire, or recycled loose parts
Form research committees or do whole group research based on what we discover
Introduce provocations in the classroom (e.g., placing pictures of what we find on the easel or by the clay table)
There are so many ways to bring nature into your educational daily routine - and an endless amount of knowledge to be gained from our outdoor world.
Wild Heritage can help in creating a magical outdoor educational setting.
From exploratory forests, pollinator gardens, vegetable beds, to natural play areas.
As a full service landscaping company we can implement every aspect of an outdoor classroom!
Children learn best by doing, so get outside and start exploring the space around you today!
- Chante, GM & Lead Gardener
Wild Heritage Gardens, Ltd.
Unless noted, all photos by Chante Ash©