On October 23, Canada celebrates Take Me Outside Day—a day that encourages teachers across Canada to bring their students outdoors and provide opportunities for children and youth to explore, play and learn outside. It is a day that highlights the importance of spending time outside, being physically active and connecting with nature.
Wildsight offers a range of environmental education programs, encouraging students to learn outside, in nature. For example, since September—in Wildsight’s 20th year of delivering environmental education programs—we have already taken 700 students outside through our Classroom with Outdoors program for grades 4-7; a day long field trip to a local grassland, wetland or ecosystem.
At Wildsight, we believe that everyday is “Take Me Outside” day.
We provide opportunities for outdoor learning throughout the entire school year with our Nature Through the Seasons program for grades K-3. In this program, we support teachers from across the Columbia Basin to develop outdoor learning practices and build nature based routines to take their students outside at multiple points throughout the year, exploring the magic of seasonal change.
I recently taught my first Nature Through the Seasons program at Kootenay Orchards Elementary in Cranbrook. Students were delighted when Lady Autumn (yours truly, dressed as a “fall fairy”) visited their class to help them explore and discover the seasonal changes that were happening right in their school yard.
Nineteen grade ones bundled up and busted through the traditional walls of their classroom to take the learning into the great outdoors. Games, exploration activities, and a quiet sit-spot activity all brought the fall season to life for our littlest learners. The children used all of their senses to make hands-on connections to their wild backyard. Students especially loved using paint chips and a special egg carton collection tray to find nature items in an array of autumn hues.
One student was flabbergasted to find a pebble that was pink! Another couldn’t believe how many sounds he heard when he put on his “deer ears.” There is something absolutely magical about watching our young learners discover the natural world—it gives me great joy and hope.
With the support of Wildsight educators, teachers participating in a Nature Through the Seasons program continue exploring the seasons with monthly (and sometimes daily!) outings to help students tune in to the rhythms of the seasons. Wildsight educators (also known as Fall Fairies, Ladies of Autumn, Seasons Guys) will visit the class four times throughout the year to help students and teachers continue on their year-long seasonal learning journey.
How will you celebrate Take Me Outside Day?
If you are a teacher or an educator and would like a copy of Wildsight’s Nature Through the Seasons newsletter, which has tons of ideas on how to take your students outside, send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. A huge thank to the Columbia Basin Trust and our donors for making the Nature Through the Seasons program possible.