Last year our Kindergarten team began going out into the walking trails behind our school every Friday. The intention was to engage students in hands-on learning opportunities outside of the classroom and explore the wonderful woods and trails on our school property.
Every Friday they focus on a different topic through the outdoor classroom. This week, students in Mrs. Green’s class read the book, A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer. The class talked about what to look for in our woods.
Each student was given a partner, a plastic bag to collect materials, and a Popsicle stick to dig. They spent time exploring decayed logs and stumps, looking for evidence of insects and other wildlife. Back in the classroom, the children sat with their partner and looked through what they brought in. Each child received a Tri-lens to examine what was in their tray and made discoveries about roots, soil, bark, and moss.
Teachers report that Science Fridays and their walks outside have been extremely engaging and have provided many benefits for our students. They share that students naturally engage in play-based learning and spontaneously form collaborative groups while in the woods. Other benefits include increased student awareness of their natural surroundings and the differences in Vermont’s seasons, as well as increased engagement and focus inside and outside of the classroom. We look forward to continuing these flexible learning opportunities and increasing our students’ appreciation of all that Vermont has to offer each season.