Larson staff created a site map with different zones to assist with scheduling the
use of outdoor learning space.
By Matt Houston, Program Manager, Cheakamus Centre
The benefits of extending learning beyond the classroom have long been appreciated by many, but COVID-19 has certainly shone additional light on outdoor learning. Spending time outdoors has been highlighted as an effective strategy for helping to reduce virus transmission and this, combined with restricted access to gyms, has resulted in teachers spending more time with their students outside.
At Larson Elementary, I was impressed to see essentially every staff member raise their hand when asked if they had taken learning outdoors in the fall. In response to increased demand for outdoor learning space, Larson created a site map with different zones to assist with scheduling.
During a November in-service day, Larson staff dedicated time to further exploring outdoor learning possibilities at their school site and beyond. School staff shared and collaborated on how each space is being used and what additional opportunities exist. They also discussed considerations for students with diverse abilities and disabilities and available resources to help support learning.
Embracing technology, most staff used their phones to record notes in real time on a Padlet. The Padlet provided a platform where everyone's ideas could easily be collected and shared. It is important now more than ever to take the time to connect with colleagues and share strategies to support learning, and the Padlet application was a useful tool for this purpose.
The cold and wet weather at this time of year presents challenges for working with students outdoors, but the Larson team is sure to come up with creative solutions to continue to develop outdoor learning at their site throughout the year.