We just completed a very successful, 3-season–fall, winter, spring–outdoor ed program for The Children’s School in Illinois. For a half day during every season of the school year we reconnected children ages 6-12 to the Natural World.
The weather was sometimes “iffy”, but it never dampened the wonder and enthusiasm of the children. They learned to walk like a fox, to hear like an owl, to increase their awarness, and to respect everything they encountered in the Natural World. Some “adopted” their own tree for close study during all three seasons. Others sat in a meadow in October, January, and May and reveled in the simple things they observed and the changes they saw.
One class had an eight-point, whitetail buck walk within 30 feet of the forest preserve pavilion we were using as an outdoor classroom. Another class was gifted with a chance to examine a deer day-bed melted into the winter snow. And a third class found fox tracks in a suburban park.
The older classes studied the skills necessary to survive in a natural environment. The younger ones during one session explored the simple wonder of playing with a stick (much less expensive than a video game). All finished the year with a renewed appreciation of and respect for the Natural World.
We instructors enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and we are told the children did as well.