The Livingstone School Divisional Day kicked off the start of the new school year on August 30, where over 400 professionals in the Livingstone school division had a meet and greet, and discussed teaching and learning strategies and trends.

The Livingstone division covers schools from Nanton, Fort Macleod, Claresholm, Stavely, Pincher Creek, and Crowsnest Pass.

This years theme and central topic of discussion was outdoor learning, and its various benefits to students and the educational process.

Cochair for the meeting, and Grade 2 teacher for the Horace Allen school in Crowsnest Pass, Lesley Margetak, says outdoor learning has a range of benefits to students.

"It benefits their physical being and emotional happiness. Kids have a tendency to connect naturally with nature, and out here in the Livingstone division we are so close to the outdoors already so it's a perfect fit."

Margetak says part of outdoor learning, is developing a working knowledge of how nature works, how it can be sustained, and who lived here before us.

"People are starting to notice the benefits of bringing kids up as stewards of the lands, which is something we talked about a lot at the divisional meeting. Curriculum topics include environmental sustainability, and the history of indigenous tribes."

Margetak adds that it's not only rural elementary schools looking to make this change in the education system.

"Its harder to utilize it (outdoor learning) in larger cities, however we've heard other school divisions are still making the effort to bring students outdoors, usually involving field-trips and such. Its a continued effort throughout the entire K-12 system."

The school year resumes on September 4 for the Livingstone division, and for the students in the Horace Allen school, who will welcome back over 200 students for the brand new year.


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