This is a Google Street View picture of Marie Sharpe Elementary School in Williams Lake, BC. The school has received grants from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to become a “wild school,” and this year, it debuted a “nature kindergarten,” where the children spend their days outdoors rather than in a classroom. From the CBC article about the innovative program:
Sylvia Swift is teaching the school district’s first “nature kindergarten” which keeps kids outside all day to add a natural element to the lessons.
Kids don’t sit at desks: instead, they sit on stumps. They go on walks and look for what’s changing in the environment; they read and they build with wood among other activities.
“It’s an adventurous day looking at learning within that kind of domain,” Swift told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon. “We want to have these children to be who they need to be and play and learn through play. Play is best done outdoors.”
The children practice their literacy and numeracy skills outdoors, and learn independence in a natural setting.
What an amazing program. I am so glad something like that is happening in the Central Interior. It fits very well with the move towards indigenization in this region and I think it’s wonderful.