During the fairer months there is no better place to be than the great outdoors in Muskoka.
Monck Public School in Bracebridge has taken that message to heart, and now they’re taking the education experience outside.
The school is currently raising funds to help build an outdoor classroom for the front yard area of their Wellington Street location.
“The goal of the outdoor learning area is to support the development and alignment of emotions, body, mind and spirit, which in the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, is referred to as Feed All Four,” says Jenn Richter, the vice principal at Monck. “This space will allow for authentic, hands-on outdoor learning experiences rooted in inquiry.”
Richter says that spirit of inquiry is vital to the growth of young minds, as it encourages and strengthens students’ natural curiosity. The space will include various gardens, outdoor gathering spaces for discussions and engagement in the arts, literacy and numeracy.
The idea is for the space to be an ongoing project, constantly changing and adapting in response to the educational needs of students and in particular the early year students.
“Our plan is to have the fencing installed by the end of the year and rejuvenating the existing
garden boxes,” says Richter. “The space will grow and develop to reflect our vision in
the upcoming school year and beyond.”
Providing students with an outdoor learning experience can help them connect to the natural environment, says Richter.
“It also can also provide a sense of calm and well-being,” she says. “Collectively, the body of research described by the Natural Learning Initiative demonstrates children’s social, psychological,
academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature.”
Richter says the school has been able to generate funds through a Little Caesar’s funding initiative, and right now they’re looking for donations of native plants to add to the outdoor experience.