Thanks and #getoutside

Posted October 8, 2018

It has been another great Thanksgiving weekend to reflect on those things for which we are grateful. ¬†Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go for a walk with my partner and Murphy, our dog. This morning I motivated myself to go for a short run along the Speed River with Murphy (trot for him, sucking wind for me). These experiences inspired me to write about our initiatives at school to reconnect with nature as a great learning environment. My goal for this post is to communicate some of the things we are doing at school to connect your child with the environment, provide some ideas for you to connect with your child to #getoutside, and provide some further information on the importance of “getting outside”.

At school, we have amazing access to greenspaces that surround our grounds. The city property through to Stephanie Park and the School Board owned forest to the north, both provide learning environments for our students to practise expectations in math, science, art, physical education and language curricula. Last year we had trails groomed and a meeting place designed by John F. Ross students. We also have had an interactive landscape garden on the school grounds installed and have plans to redesign the Kindergarten yard.

There are many studies that point to the importance of getting outside and interacting with our natural environment and the detrimental effects of staying indoors and too much screen time, for instance. I tweeted out this article this morning : https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/are-canadian-kids-losing-the-ability-to-play-new-study-suggests-a-problem/ar-BBO67Dj?ocid=News

There is even research and writing on Nature Deficit Disorder! For further reading on this you can visit http://richardlouv.com/books/nature-principle/excerpt/.

So what? Know that staff is working hard to get your children connected with learning in and with nature and the greenspaces in our neighbourhood. Know that being in nature benefits mental and physical well-being. On October 24th, we have planned school wide activities for #takemeoutsideday.

Ask your child “What did you play/find/discover outside today? What did you learn?”.

Ask your child to take you to our neighbourhood greenspaces  Рthe forest, or the Celebration forest by the portable. (I have downloaded an app called iNaturalist on my mobile device Рjust one of the examples about how you can record, share, and learn about the local flora and fauna).

Search the hashtag #getoutside for ideas. And most importantly, #getoutside – enjoy and appreciate time together experiencing the colours, sounds, smells, and sensations that our greenspaces provide.

Categories: Principal's Blog