Category Archives: Inquiry

Kids and Active Play York Region information

York Region has shared the following information for our community

Win a prize by taking our spring Active Play survey!

 Kids and active play

How does the change in seasons affect how kids play?  Do you live in York Region and have a child age 5 to 12 years of age? Or do you work at an elementary school in York Region?  Tell us how children play in warmer weather by completing this brief survey and you could win a prize.

Thank you to everyone who already filled out our winter active play survey!  With over 700 responses, the survey taught us a lot about how kids play in the winter.   For example, the weather kept many children indoors, both at home and at school.

Whether its winter, spring, or any other time of year, children need several hours of active play each day.

Outdoor active play can include such things as:

  • Playing hopscotch, tag or soccer
  • Making mud pies or sandcastles
  • Climbing a tree or building a tree fort
  • Riding a bike, scooter or skateboard

How can parents encourage active play?

  • Balance scheduled activities with free play time
  • Encourage children to play in natural outdoor spaces, and in a variety of weather conditions
  • Allow children to take risks so they can have fun while learning to identify and manage risks in all areas of their lives

How can schools encourage active play?

  • Regularly embrace the outdoors for learning, socialization and physical activity in various weather conditions
  • Choose natural elements for the school yard over pre-fabricated playgrounds and paved areas
  • Examine existing policies and reconsider those that pose a barrier to active outdoor play


For more information on physical activity and active play, visit:

Take Me Outside Day

Tomorrow Wednesday October 26, 2016 we look forward to once again celebrating Take Me Outside Day. This year, we have formed an Outdoor Learning Committee to consolidate the journey we have been on as a school over the past two years. Outdoor learning is something we have explored a lot as a team and in collaboration with our School Council. Tomorrow, we invite you to also be part of the fun.

Families may enjoy:

  • Leave no Trace Scavenger Hunt where you find items, places and spaces in the outdoors together.
  • Going on a family hike together.
  • A simile stroll Complete the following while on a walk as tall as…as green as…sweet like…as rough as….

We have a beautiful town to enjoy together tomorrow or any day of the year for that matter.

Be sure to follow the journey of many schools via the twitter hashtag #takemeoutsideday

Here’s to the learning,

Mr. Collins

What we learned, in a forest…

20150529_085404In March, one of the teachers who works at Sibbald Point Outdoor Education Center approached me about a pilot project that had just been approved named “A Week in the Forest”. Our Outdoor Education Centers provide outdoor learning opportunities for all of our students in grades 2, 4 and 7. The intent of the project was to find ways to bring principles of outdoor learning to a school setting. Ms. Murray worked with one of our FDK teams on a urban school mini environmental inquiry. We also partnered with other teams from across our board. Since then, the team, and other classes at our school have continued the explorations. Ms. Mott our Teacher-Librarian extended our Discovery Hub, to the outdoor setting as well. I had the opportunity to join a class and some parents last week in our “outdoor classroom”. It was a wonderful experience.

So what have we learned so far as a team?


Science explorations in the real world.


Artists finding inspiration in a natural setting.

The space we chose was a literally a living, vibrant, outdoor classroom that students came to respect. How fortunate are we to have such a beautiful town to learn in as Mount Albert. The students’ natural curiosity led to many explorations and investigations. Here some students explained various findings they made as they explore the outdoor space.

Here a student paints after exploring the forest, his reflections on his discoveries. With the sound of birds chirping and the creek babbling, it was a wonderful source of inspiration.


Worked developed in the outdoor classroom on display just like indoors.

We were thrilled that parents could join us on the journey as well. One of the parents wrote me with some insightful observations. “By the end of the day in the forest, I began to reflect upon the whole experience. In doing so, it crossed my mind that I had not observed any behavioural issues from children during the entire time the class had been outside. As this is a kindergarten class with a total of twenty-six students, I found this to be fairly remarkable. I have had experience volunteering in the past in this classroom, as well as within my older son’s kindergarten classroom, and I do not think that I have ever witnessed such calm amongst such a group for such a period of time.” This is something we all need to continue to reflect on and explore. Many of our staff now regularly access our outdoor spaces to allow for students to conduct nature walks, physical activity and learning in the outdoors because we find this same calm and focus in students. We do know that outdoor learning appeals to various learning styles and strengths. This is an area we will continue to explore and honour for our learners.


Even snacks took place outside while respecting the environment.

The parent also shared about how the experience allows children to connect to the world around them “On a personal note, I have been delighted to hear about my daughter’s experiences every day after school. When she comes home she is excited to tell me about the caterpillars that they found today, and she wants to “upcycle” all our cardboard recycling to promote environmental friendliness! I love to see her engaged in the world around her, connecting to the world, and using that connection to fuel environmental consciousness.” This was indeed the hope of the project. We know that environmental issues are very important to today’s students. They speak about them and engage in dialogue about the issues often. And, yes, this includes our youngest learners. A fond memory for myself this year was watching our school’s Eco Team that included leaders from K-3 meeting in our Discovery Hub and discussing topics related to the environment.

20150529_091645Finally, I loved the following thought: “One observation that I found interesting was the placement of a man-made playground area, new and fully-equipped, within approximately twenty feet of the edge of the forest. And it occurred to me that not one child seemed interested in leaving the forest to play at the park. It also made me reflect upon how a child plays in the park compared to how he or she may play in the forest. In the park there are pre-set activities: you swing on the swing, slide on the slide, and climb on the monkey bars. But what I was observing with the children playing within the forest was very different. A fallen log became a rocket ship. One child told me that he was chasing a pink and blue bunny rabbit through the forest. The difference was that they were using their imaginations! The playground had activities, but the forest was full of possibilities.” Indeed. We all need to reflect on this observation and consider the “why” behind the engagement. What does this tell us about the conditions we, as adults, set for learning to occur? Rather than it all falling to adults, the weeks in the forest have very much been about adults, and children developing learning opportunities together through inquiry, talk, exploration, observation and discovery. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and vision, we have tapped into something very exciting.

A week in the forest….here’s to many more.


Mr. Collins