It seems March Break has given me lots of time to ponder our school system and the pros and cons of what it currently looks like. As I was on a walk today in the woods behind our subdivision (yes, that may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but I assure you there are real stands of trees on the edge of suburbia!), I started thinking about the importance of fresh air and nature and being outdoors. So much of our learning happens inside, in chairs, in an environment of fluorescent lights and stale air. How might we bring some of the outdoors in? How might we bring our students outdoors more? What skills are they learning when they spend time navigating the outdoors?
I fondly remember an overnight trip I took in Grade 7 to the Frost Centre. It was snowing, and it was cold, but we went outside nonetheless. We went orienteering through the snow, we played survivor, and I think we even tried to built shelters. We didn’t have any smartphones (come to think of it, we didn’t really have cell phones period.) and all we had were a few tools to get the job done. One of the things I love most about my son’s daycare is the way they prioritize outdoor play. Why does that decrease as our students move up into higher grades?