Exploration in the great outdoors with Outdoor Education in Langley

October 9, 2017

Tuesday afternoon’s activity was to find and use sticks and mud from around the beach to build a bird’s nest. The exercise was inspired by one student who had brought a bird’s nest to class. Task in hand, the students took to the shore of the Fraser River, many of them coating themselves in a thin layer of dirt.

For Marlee St. Pierre’s Kindergarten class, and Ashley Harder’s 1-2 split class, days are a little different than in a regular classroom. Romping in the mud is just part of the lesson.

This is the first year that the Outdoor Education Program of Choice has been offered. The program takes kid’s learning outdoors, with the goal of a 60 per cent outdoor instruction and 40 per cent indoor.

Despite the different setting, the classroom still uses the BC Curriculum. “It just looks different,” Ashely Harder says, describing the structure of her class. Math, for instance, can be taught using materials found outdoors, and science experiments are done in the field.

Harder described much of the class as exploring and dramatic play. The students find things while they explore, and then learn to talk about what they find. Much of the class is also about teaching nature awareness, and learning how to decrease one’s eco footprint.

However, “they still see paper and pencils,” says Harder. Students still keep journals and practice writing. Even though they spend most of their time in the field, students still spend the last two days of their time in the classroom.

Teachers, Ashley and Marlee, handle the class with the assistance of EA’s and others, occasionally having parent support, depending on the day’s activities.

Registration for next year’s Outdoor Education Program is currently open until October 6th. Go here for more details on how to register.