Come September of next year, 22 kindergarteners will abandon their classroom each morning, rain or shine, for a hike into the woods where for the next 2 1/2 hours sticks and stones will replace pencil and paper.
“This is an opportunity for children to be involved in a rich experience, to learn nature in the public school system,” said Enid Elliot, an early childhood researcher who teaches at the University of Victoria’s School of Child and Youth Care as well as at Camosun College’s Faculty of Education.
“Children aren’t getting outdoor experience. Instead, two year olds know how to work an iPad.”
“It was amazing to watch children be in any kind of weather and be completely content,” Ms. Krusekopf said. The children were also physically fit, independent and patient, since waiting for slower classmates was routine.
Funding for outdoor clothing will come via grants that will also fund honorariums for native elders who will teach the children traditional native ways.
……But once her charges got in touch with their squelched imaginations, they learned to make lean-tos, discovered that a stick could be anything, revelled in puddle-splashing, played games wearing snowshoes and managed the fine art of peeing outside.
….“In the outdoors, everyone is happy and gets along. The so-called difficult children are better,” Ms. Hegge noted.