Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Education and Forest School... what’s the difference?

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Education and Forest School... what’s the difference?

Here is how our school will incorporate all three educational models:

1. Outdoor Learning is simply taking students outside to learn what is normally taught in an indoor classroom. Project work may require a great deal of space and movement which is perfectly suited for the outdoors. On the other hand, reading, writing and math practice could take place sitting under a tree on their portable surf desks or lying on the grass inside of a fort made of branches. Research shows an increase in focus and a sharp decrease in anxiety, stress and sensory-related challenges in students who work outdoors. Our students will be spending a significant portion of each school day learning, working and playing outdoors.

2. Outdoor Education is often defined as experiential learning in, for, or about the outdoors. Most often, it is used to refer to a range of organized activities that emphasize teamwork, resilience, environmental education and/or responsible outdoor recreation. We combine our Outdoor Education program with our Physical Education program in elementary school which adds physical literacy, health and an exploration of a variety of team and individual sports to the Outdoor Education programming. All of our students participate in a physical education/outdoor education class each day.

3. Forest School is a child-led process centred on the holistic development of each child. Teachers are observers, supporters and guides-on-the-side as children follow their own interests and inquiry in a natural environment fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Rather than being a one-off experience, forest school takes place in the same woodland (or other wild, natural environment) on a regular basis throughout the year. Forest school also offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves. All students will spend most of their Wednesday afternoons in one of our provincial parks with teachers and trained Forest School practitioners.

Find out more by attending one of our Parent Meetings on our Event Page or Book Online Page.

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