“Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our chidlren's health (and also, by the way, in our own).” ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Who Needs Walls, Anyway?
3rd-5th graders explore Powerline Pass above South Anchorage. Getting out into the world with science makes for a truly engaging, and memorable, experience!
Kids need to be outside; everyone thinks this is a good idea. How many times as a child did your mother say when you were growing up, “Would you go outside and play? You’re making me crazy.” Okay, so maybe it was just us here at the Fund Stuff who needed that redirection on regular basis, but the truth is kids are curious, full of energy, and they thrive when given the chance to get outside and explore. As it happens, getting outside is also really good for teachers.
David Suzuki, Award-winning geneticist and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation in Canada writes “So far, only a few studies focus on the benefits of green time for teachers, but those indicate that teaching in nature has great effects. A study out of the U.K.'s King's College London suggests teaching outdoors makes educators more confident and enthusiastic about their work, and more innovative in their teaching strategies. By extension, schools benefit from the leadership and influence of their teachers who take students outside.”
While we haven’t done any formal studies ourselves, we know from years of using the great outdoors as our biggest and most interesting classroom that the effects on both kids and adults is positive. From the Beginners nature walks out the front door to our Spring trips to Kodiak, Washington and beyond, PNA has held fast to the belief that it is our responsibility to get kids and teachers out and moving - both physically and mentally.
As we read through the class newsletters this week, we noticed a common theme…class time beyond our walls. Matt Yancik, PNA's 4th grade teacher, shared where and why his class went:
“Not all learning takes place in the classroom, and this week the Fourth Grade class was out and about in Anchorage building team spirit and camaraderie! Who needs a classroom, anyway, when there are so many sunny places to learn outside?"
Kindergarten through Eighth grade walked the mile through the woods to Ruth Arcand Park for the annual Fall Outing, a time when the students have a chance to interact with each other and enjoy the last gasps of summer. The weather was warm and sunny and all the grades split up and joined teams of mixed ages to participate in games like "A Cold Wind Blows, One Fish Two Fish, and Overboard!"