Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One of My Children's Classrooms (Photo of the Day)

One day a week my children are at this location. They are outside in nature, literally in the places which are seen in these photos. This nature preserve is the location where a class for homeschooled children is run.

How great is it that on a weekday a bunch of homeschooled children have THIS PLACE as their classroom?

I think it is just FANTASTIC! I think that all of the children enrolled in these programs are very lucky indeed!

Nature's Classroom

As a comparison, I have heard multiple parents voicing praise for "Nature's Classroom" which is a one week program for fifth graders that only certain schools and towns participate in. In that program schooled children go away for a week and spend a week in nature, learning out in nature.

My two thoughts on that are first off, I would probably not yet let my fifth grader go away with a full classroom of kids for a week.

Secondly, if it is such a great program it is sad that it can be done only for one week and only for fifth graders and also only in certain schools or in certain towns.

It is wonderful to be in nature and to learn about things while outside but it is a shame if a child has only had that experience for one whole week of their entire public school education if you ask me. I am therefore grateful that my own children have spent time out in nature on a regular basis throughout their entire childhood not just for maybe one week in fifth grade.

By the way I just read a bit about "Nature's Classroom" and the program which my children are in is quite similar, with games, team-building exercises and games, hiking and academic information being learned all while 'out in nature'.

Photos taken by ChristineMM, late September, 2007, in Connecticut.

1 comment:

Shawna said...

Beautiful pictures and yes, how fortunate for children to have such a place to learn and be on a weekly basis!!! I wish all children had such opportunities and wish all schools would spend some time seeing what is around them and utilizing it--even vacant lots or the side of a slope adjacent the schools boundaries with their natural chaparral or a ravine or culvert.

However, as a child who was raised to spend her summers in the great oudoors, the Muirs redwoods to be exact, and her weekends and afternoons in the foothills and fields around her neighborhood, I still got much from my week at OUTDOOR SCHOOL in the 6th grade. It was a different experience, with a different kind of leadership and ambiance in a different local.

I experience camping in a large group and sharing dorms, I ate in a mess hall for the very 1st time, the camp fires were bigger than any I had every participated in because it was not on class of 6th graders, it was the entire school of 6th graders. Although I knew my trees and why "the green stuff" grew on one side only and which plants to avoid and why hiking uphill sure beat hiking down hill after a few miles, I had never studied the animal dung--that was new and exciting. I saw my first colony of lady bugs at a hidden creek and oh, the beauty! I made arrowheads with my own two hands. I learned camp songs and dorm claps that I still remember to this day. I bonded with students that were not my friends. And I met and spent time with high school seniors that were our dorm leaders--oh so exciting to a 6th grader.

Yes, I knew a lot about the great outdoors for all the time I had spent there, for all that my father had taught and tested me on, for all that the rangers had guides me through from the time that I was little, for the 30 mile back packing trek through the high sierras as a child not yet 10 years old...but OUTDOOR SCHOOL still provided much and still is a fond memory and I am glad they offer it.

What does sadden me--they have shortened it here in our District from a 5 day week to a 3 day week and that to me leaves little time to do much of anything!

I still wish that children had what you describe and your pictures show, but the reality is that most won't and don't, so OUTDOOR SCHOOL/NATURE'S CLASSROOM is better than nothing at all...an honestly, there is much to be gained from the experience, even from those exposed to the wonderful world of the wilderness.

Great post!