“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health…” Richard Louv
Last January, our Kindergarten classes began a snow inquiry. We wondered about snow, read about snow, played outside in the snow and even experimented with snow in the classroom. As Kindergarten teachers, we decided that it would be fun to celebrate our inquiry with a day spent in the snow at Mitchell Park. This was a new environment for our students to explore. As a class, we brainstormed a plan for our time at the park. Our students had great ideas about how to spend our time including making snowmen, looking for animal tracks in the snow and exploring in the bush. Everyone, including our parent volunteers, loved our day at the park so much that we wound up planning a second winter park day.
Following these days our Kindergarten team met and began to think about how we could use our Mitchell Park as a new learning environment for our students on a regular basis. For the months of May and June our classes dedicated one day a week at the park. We wanted to incorporate joyful learning adventures based on curriculum outcomes while at the same time encourage students to problem solve and work cooperatively with each other. Activities at the park included using ‘science hoops’ to look closely at nature, drawing and writing about nature and building habitats for animals out of natural loose parts like sticks, rocks, and leaves. Our students loved the time that they spent learning in the park. As teachers we were able to provide and facilitate rich experiences where students could safely practice and develop the eight deep learning competencies in “Our Kids”.
We received a lot of positive feedback from our students and parents:
“I like working outside.” –A.
“I like going outside and looking at stuff.” – K.
“I really like it because I like climbing the climbing tree.” -B.
“It was so good to see the students work together, point out their findings and share excitement!” -Kindergarten parent
“These were great educational afternoons.” – Kindergarten parent
“LOVE the hands on learning opportunity this gave the children.” – Kindergarten parent
We are looking forward to planning future adventures using our beautiful community space as a classroom!
Jennifer Thomson and Phylis Wiebe
MES Kindergarten teachers