Article and Photos Courtesy of TLDSB
On October 18, schools across Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) recognized Take Me Outside Day (TMOD) as an opportunity for students to deepen connections with Indigenous perspectives, strengthen their health and well-being with outdoor learning, and increase knowledge about climate change and the environment.
Lady Mackenzie Public School students participated in a variety of outdoor activities, including obstacle courses, ring toss, rock-paper-scissors, and tic-tac-toe. Grade 7 and 8 students demonstrated their leadership skills as station organizers.
Each class at Grandview Public School took part in an activity outdoors. The school’s Kindergarten class spent the entire day outside, continuing their curriculum-based learning with a focus on the connections to the environment. Activities included creating mandalas out of leaves, pinecones, stones, and/or sticks; finding different native species; collecting items from nature to create simple patterns; and creating a leaf maze.
“Students were excited to take part in TMOD, as it allowed them the chance to be outdoors and learn at the same time,” said GPS Kindergarten teacher, Courtney Ridgway. “A greater appreciation for nature and all the things the outdoors offers was gained by everyone who took part in this fantastic learning opportunity. The entire class loved every minute of being outside and that it was the perfect day to be part of a nation-wide wide event.”
Lady Eaton Elementary School Grade 2/3 class spent the afternoon outside exploring nature and their surroundings in the community by going on a nature walk along the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail. The students explored the changes of seasons in nature, animals, and collected items from the walk to use for a nature-inspired mandala art activity.
Macaulay Public School Grade 1/2 teachers, Rebecca Bound and Megan Jones, enjoy taking their students’ learning outside throughout the year, but decided to be more intentional in their planning during the month of October for TMOD. One activity the class took part in was with a focus on procedural writing. Using a gradual release (I do, we do, you do), students went on a hike to find a stick, “roasted” their marshmallows on an imaginary fire, ate s’mores in the forest, and then wrote their procedures outdoors on whiteboards and clipboards with the teachers’ goal of doing a moderated marking session for assessment.
“The outdoor learning environment encourages our learners to use their imagination and curiosity, build cognitive skills, and acquire social skills. Learning outside is something students look forward to doing and we sometimes need to rethink our planning to take better advantage of the gifts we have available outside for us to access to facilitate meaningful learning,” explained Bound. “In the end, students seem more excited/engaged about learning when it happens outside and are often better regulated.”