One of the aspects of my kindergarten classroom that I want to improve this next school year is incorporating more outdoor learning into the day. I’m not just talking about recess, but time for my students to explore and learn about the natural environment.
Part of having an inquiry-based program is allowing students the time to explore and learn from their environment. Incorporating environmental learning is a great way to ensure that you provide your students with ample opportunity to wonder.
I have learned a lot from the book Natural Curiosity 2. This is a great resource for moving your practice forward and thinking about incorporating the natural world into your school day.
Schedule Outdoor Learning
If I don’t write something down, I won’t do it. So that is why I make sure that going outside is built into my daily schedule. I want to prioritize this time for my students since I believe it is important to their growth and development.
Take a look at your daily schedule – when can you add more learning in the outdoors to your day? Before or after recess, the beginning of the school day, end of the school day are all great times to head outside!
An important aspect of outdoor learning is building a sense of place with your students. I want to make sure that my students can revisit the same spot in their community over a long stretch of time. This way, they can see the changes that take place and observe what is happening.
Is there a place that you can visit with your students? It can be as simple as a tree or flower patch.
While your students are exploring the natural environment, this is the perfect time to observe them. You can jot down questions that they have, observations they make and any learning that happens.
I like to bring an iPad with me to document what my students are doing and take pictures. Afterwards, I can print them out and display them on a bulletin board.
Do you plan for outdoor learning in your classroom? Let me know in the comments what you do with your students!