​Learning Outdoors in the Time of COVID

April 16, 2020

It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic shift in how we go about educating kids than what we’ve seen in response to the COVID pandemic.

And to think this came about in a matter of weeks. The scale, scope and pace of this change has been truly staggering.

Such wholescale change has invariably brought with it a multitude of challenges: access to technology, instructional oversight, accountability, assessment, connection and engagement; the list is long. As a father of 2 teenage boys, I’ve gained a 1st hand appreciation of these issues and from my perspective, the sense of disconnection through isolation that my boys feel is critical. Disconnection from friends, teachers, routines and ultimately their sense of self can be pervasive and overwhelming.

So how, in this current COVID climate, can we as parents and educators find ways to reconnect kids to their learning in ways that engage their interests, provide outlets for active experiential learning, and support core social and emotional needs?

One approach lies just beyond the walls of your home. Learning outdoors has so many different facets and entry points and can be as simple or complex as one chooses. Importantly, time spent learning outside can combat social isolation, help to maintain physical and mental health and provides limitless opportunities for inquiry and connection with place.

The Outdoor Learning @ Home site was designed with the goal of encouraging kids, families and teachers to venture out and explore new learning connections that support our schools’ core curriculum.

Finding new and creative ways to connect in, with and about the naturalworld may just be a step in the right direction as we look forward to educating and inspiring our children in a rapidly changing world.

Contributed by Cheakamus Centre staff: Director of Educational Programs, Conor McMullan