This year my kindergarten students, my education assistant, and I have become “Forest Explorers” as we like to call ourselves. We spent many hours outside in the forest just behind our school in Port Moody, BC. I filled my rolling teacher cart with all sorts of goodies – shovels, buckets, string, dinosaurs, jingle bells (to scare off the bears!), pencils, clipboards, and magnifying glasses.
The students thrived in this amazing outdoor environment, and soon we were teaching the older students in our school how to “play” outside. Many teachers and parents didn’t even know this amazing space existed on our schoolyard. Students broke into groups using imaginative play to create mud pies and mud soup, racing through the forest playing tag games, scanning the stream for water bugs and creatures, throwing rocks in to see who could make the biggest splash, and digging giant holes!
The year was finished with a giant family picnic in the woods, with over 70 children and adults enjoying a BBQ in the great outdoors. I was never raised as an outdoorsy type person, in fact many people laugh at my Coach brand pink gum boots, however after seeing the positive reaction of my students learning in this outdoor environment, the elimination of any behavior issues while outside, the communication and collaboration that takes place, I am sold and hooked on learning outside!
Next year we have 88 new kindergarten students coming to our school and I can not wait to introduce them to the world that exists outside the classroom!