While millions of students are at home looking at screens, creative educators are taking in-person classes Outdoors, writes Alan Gottlieb. Holding classes in the fresh air minimizes the spread of coronavirus, makes spacing easy and gets sedentary students moving again.
Outdoor education may require different equipment and warmer clothes for students, writes Gottlieb.
“There’s a saying from Sweden that’s there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” said Wyman, whose school district sits at 10,000 feet above sea level. “You can learn outside under almost any conditions with the right clothing.”
In districts like Lake County, where the majority of kids come from low-income households, schools must be prepared to provide warm coats, boots, and snowpants to students whose families can’t afford pricey gear.
The Knights of Columbus coordinates clothing donations for Lake County students.
“Forest schools,” as they’re known in Europe, are having their “moment in the sun,” writes Karen D’Souza on California-based EdSource.
“Because of Covid, a lot of people are looking at outdoor learning for the first time,” said Liana Chavarin, founder of the Berkeley Forest School, which operates out of scenic César Chávez Park with its windswept views of the bay. “There’s much more demand than before.”
. . . “With the incredible increase in screen time all school-aged children are now experiencing, it is more important than ever to encourage non-screen time experiences,” said Casey Gray, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Fresno. “Time spent outdoors and in nature is extremely important for the developing brain. This allows active exploration and interaction with the real environment. It promotes good social skills, allows for free, uninhibited play and gives children experiences that simply cannot be replicated on the screen.”
Outdoor schools in Denver are seeing enrollments rise, reports Nicole Brady of the Denver Channel.
WorldMind Nature Immersion School is a private elementary school that teaches all subjects outdoors, said founder Megan Patterson. “We do our reading curriculum out here, math, science, social studies, and just using the community and what’s already here.”
Winter classes remain outdoors, she said. “They’re building with the snow, we’re doing a lot of snow science, and as long as everyone is adequately dressed, they can be perfectly safe.”
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