Nova Scotia schools have been taking lessons outside! Outdoor learning is excellent for both physical and mental health, not to mention, excellent for saving energy! Heading outside means natural light, fresh air, and lots of learning through exploration!
Riverside School students and staff have been working since Fall 2019 to create a student-driven, multi-section, outdoor learning space that will incorporate various learning styles and subjects. Riverside’s principal, Suzanne Brown explained that it’s called a “Knowledge Path”. This 2 km outdoor learning space consists of three main sections. Section one features indigenous culture, language, and history. Section two is an “Outdoors from the outdoors” section that is used to take lessons like math and science outside! Section three is dedicated to exploration and inspiration!
The path also contains multiple features such as a musical garden, a performance art stage, an outdoor classroom setting for 30 students, flower gardens planted by students, sharing circles, mindfulness signs to promote positivity, and lots of seating for student self-directed learning. Suzanne also adds that students can continue the outdoor learning on the path with snowshoe fun and plexiglass screened-in outdoor space!
Suzanne shares that the school was fortunate to have all of this green space and they wanted to do something with it to use it in a more productive and educational way! Creating a path like this meant that this area can also be a community space. Suzanne explains that there are not enough walking paths around to allow families to get involved in physical activity or practice mental health. This was a way for everyone in the community to connect while people are prohibited from coming to the school with the COVID-19 restrictions.
This project is currently scheduled to be completed by the second week of November 2020 but that hasn’t stopped students from using it! Students are constantly working on the path to making it their own. Using mulch and woodchips from downed trees, flower bulbs, and other natural materials students can work the space in a way that feels right to them and in doing so, making it beautiful. Suzanne says this student taking ownership is the whole point, it’s for them!
If you’d like to see the knowledge path for yourself it is now open to the public after 5 O’clock.
We’re excited to see what our schools will get up to next! How will you get outside this fall?
Cape Breton Engagement Officer