A glance at your school playgrounds on recess shows how kids love the outdoors.

What if traditional class time could be used for growing and exploring the outdoors and using nature as their classroom.

Canada’s first forest school opened near Ottawa in 2008 and there are now similar programs launched around the country. There is also companies that sponsor schools and school boards to put gardens, ponds and planting trees as part of the school grounds and the kids are responsible to keep these working.

This is a great tool for teaching children about nature and how vegetation grows. It also helps the kids of today to preserve our earth so that generations from now will have the fresh water,soil to grow our food and
clean air.

Kids could plant vegetable and flower gardens. It teaches them the process of how a flower grows and this can be taken into the classroom as part of the curriculum but seeing it first hand is easier for a lot of kids in the learning process. It is also a way to beautify our schools as well.

In some schools, the kids start their day in an outdoor gathering circle. They sit on cedar stumps, sing songs, share ideas and plan the day together. They then set out to see the changes in the gardens or outdoor space. The kids enjoy seeing the subtle changes such as newly formed buds, birds and the veggies starting to grow in the gardens. We are also giving the kids a talent and knowledge on how things grow and the ecosystem
of our earth.

So let us think about asking our children’s schools to implement gardens into our school grounds and investigating some of the companies that will help financially for this. Playing outside encourages inquisitiveness and a sense of wonder. Through classroom activities such as recycling, composting and gardening the children will become more eco-aware and learning what we need to use from the land to live.

So go out and seek nature-base activities with your family and have the kids share what they learn.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, Registered nutritionist,g.cottingham@hotmail.com  905-778-9998

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