A group of teachers in the Foothills School Division are promoting the concept of getting their kids out of their classrooms and into the environment, to help supplement their lesson plans.

On December 12, three elementary teachers discussed their experiences with outdoor learning at the Foothills School Division and recounted some changes they've noticed in their students attitudes towards learning.

Teacher at Westmount School in Okotoks, Graham Campbell says there's no learning substitute for allowing kids to explore and interact with the environment around them.

"I think that nature is such a great teacher and we should let those opportunities come to us and allow students to explore the greatest learning opportunity there is."

Teacher at the Turner Valley School Bobbie Mappin says, taking the classroom outdoors allows students to draw connections to a variety of subjects, including creative writing and reading.

"We use our experiences as catalysts in our writing. We can now focus on reading story books about nature, so a student can say 'Oh, I did see an eagles nest outside and now I'm reading a book about one', so it provides a unique opportunity to draw a connection in their learning."

Grade 5 Teacher at Percy Pegler School in Okotoks Ryan Lemphers says, his classroom's outdoor exhibitions are keeping his students engaged and involved in their learning.

"The biggest advantage I'd say to implementing outdoor learning is engagement, the kids are passionate and excited about their learning. They're starting to see the connection between the subjects that they may not have seen before."

The trio are chronicling their adventures on Instagram and can be followed at @fsdnaturebasedlearning.


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