For the last few years, I have taken a number of steps to educate myself on outdoor education, get myself trained and prepared to be the best educator my kiddos need, and currently I am working towards completing my practictioners course in forest and nature school. With that said, I have had to do a lot of self-reflection, habit-breaking, and pretty much completely over-haul my teaching philosophy because afterall - #imhereforthekids.
Now, I'm not perfect. In fact, while we have gone outside A LOT in the last 5 months, we've also been indoors a bunch too - and I take blame for that. Getting outside is our goal and top priority, however, it is hard. There is more to it than just gearing up and getting out, and at the same time, it's as easy as just that - gear up and get out.
But sometimes, even with all the "right" gear, getting outside can be difficult if your mindset is not in a good place.
Enter all the excuses.
When I wasn't working hard enough or complaining, my mom use to point out, "you're just making a 1000 excuses, smarten up" - so I will.
The joys of nature and outdoor play can't be limited to sunshine and warm temperatures. In fact, as we seem to be entering deeper into our winter season, we must remember that snow is a massively important piece to our planet's climate! The snow cover acts as a blanket to help regulate the earths surface temperature and once that snow melts, it will refill our many rivers and reservoirs. Obviously, this bit of info may be a little over our K4 students heads, but if they can get outside and find joy in the many seasons mother earth provides us, there will be a better chance of them growing up to appreciate this planet and have the desire to take care of it.
On this particular day, we had just returned from Xmas break and were exploring the snow mountains built by our amazing community helpers. It was cold and especially windy, but we went outside anyway. We geared up and stayed outside as long as we could - approximately 25 minutes. The weather challenged our clothing, but it was a perfect learning opportunity for all - 1) dress for the weather, 2) protect your face, 3) keep moving, 4) stay closer to "home", 5) keep it fun, 6) use your judgement, and 7) stay positive and know when to call it quits.
We may have only lasted 25 minutes, but a quick visit to Arendelle was all this group needed and back inside we went to warm up.