YMCA OF SIMCOE/MUSKOKA
Thanks to a partnership between the YMCA and the school board, Grade 4 students in Orillia have access to innovative outdoor science lessons based on the curriculum from the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Project WILD, Below Zero, and Project WET.
The 100-minute lessons focus on different schoolyard ecosystems each season and bring a local perspective, fun, and fitness to science learning.
“Our goal is to involve more kids in outdoor science learning in a way that is fun and engaging, helps them learn about their local environment, and gets them some terrific outdoor fitness in the process,” said Sam White, assistant manager, camping and outdoor education at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
Lessons cover everything from food chains and predator-prey relationships, to winter habitats and wetlands.
Healthy activity comes in as students play interactive games, take part in hikes to explore their habitats throughout the changing seasons, and participate in activities derived from the Canadian Wildlife Federation lessons. White confirmed that this is ideal for multiple learning styles.
“Outdoor education is multi-curricular, allowing the facilitation of a broad spectrum of lessons, learning, and engagement. In-class learning only meets a few of the learning styles capable of reaching young learners,” White shared.
“Teaching outdoors involves a wider use of the senses, stimulates greater sharing between the educator and the learner, and deepens the appreciation for outdoor spaces, nature, and our environment.”
The outdoor education program visits many Orillia schools, including Rama Central, Uptergrove, Couchiching Heights, Harriett Todd, Lions Oval, Orchard Park, Regent Park, Marchmont, Warminster, and Severn Shores.
For more information about the benefits and values of outdoor education, please visit www.outdoorplaycanada.ca/2022/01/25/research-education-outside-the-classroom-can-contribute-to-better-motivation-at-school and www.edcan.ca/articles/outdoor-education.