As schools around the country sought a safe way to bring students back to classrooms during the Covid-19 pandemic, many began to embrace the idea of bringing their classes outside for the first time. However, founding members of our school have been promoting outdoor learning for nearly a decade! Now, with more teachers integrating outdoor learning into their schedule, we’re encouraged to see a rising number of children benefiting from it, bolstered by enhanced understanding and support from parents and the broader community.
Every Wednesday afternoon, at the ‘heart’ of our weekly curriculum, stands our unique Forest School program. We are among the very few upper elementary schools in Alberta—and indeed, across Canada—that dedicate regular time to authentic Forest School. Our team boasts multiple certified Forest School practitioners as well as wilderness-trained faculty, eager to impart their expertise. Beyond this weekly immersion, our commitment is unwavering: daily outdoor learning and play are foundational to our educational ethos, ensuring spending time outdoors and in nature is an essential aspect of our students’ experiences.
Extensive research affirms that spending time outdoors offers transformative benefits across multiple facets of student well-being: mental health, physical health, and academic performance. Exposure to nature and the active, hands-on nature of each type of outdoor learning acts as a mental health booster, reducing stress levels and enhancing emotional stability. This calming effect translates to the indoor classroom, creating a holistic educational experience that supports the whole child: mind, body and spirit.