Over the past few years, our school team has been on a wonderful journey. They have embraced learning, everywhere. I have said before that we are very fortunate to be located where we are in such a beautiful town and with such amazing greenspace readily available. Early on in our school’s journey, our staff began accessing those spaces to explore learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Those initial steps led us to a much larger journey.
Along the way, we also sought out student voice in what our outdoor learning spaces could be:
Students and staff developed a vision for materials that could support both outdoor learning as well as recess times. We included our School Council in those discussions as well as we considered costs, accessibility, equity of access, risk management, materials that would engage learners and a plan that would sustain our work for several years.
We were able to implement a lot of materials fairly quickly such as this Mud Kitchen for our FDK yard:
Over the past year we have also been able to develop a plan for a wide variety of materials to support our classroom programming. You may have noticed our recent addition to our grounds:
Of course, it is really what is on the inside that counts…
Thanks to a dedicated outdoor learning committee of staff at our school, our collective vision has now become a reality. We are one of the few schools to have such materials and to have them readily accessible for all classes to use. And wow, are they using them! With a focus on loose parts, our outdoor storage is the culmination of four years worth of hard work that did indeed include students, staff and our community. What a time to celebrate now.
Yesterday, we were honoured to host a professional learning session at our school led by Tanya Murray, a consultant in our board. Staff from across the board were able to access our outdoor learning spaces and peruse our learning materials:
Could staff professional learning get any better than this?
What is most exciting is that our journey has really just started.
Here’s to learning…everywhere…