Students in Mrs. Pitcher’s Grade 1 class spent last Friday morning playing in the snow and learning about winter ecology. Winter Wonderland, a Wildsight Education in the Wild program, is a program for Grade 1 to 3 students. It is designed to teach kids about how outdoor life works in these cold, Canadian winters.
The half-day field trip program promotes active, experiential learning, and takes place in the schoolyard or within walking distance of the school. Linked to IRP-prescribed learning outcomes, the Winter Wonder program supports teachers in bringing science concepts alive for their students while encouraging hands-on discovery and exploration of winter ecology.
Each program is focused to reach the Science Curriculum for the specific grade. In Kindergarten, for example, students use five senses to observe winter and living things. They share their findings with others. They learn to describe features of two different plants – noting similarities and differences. Students compare how different animals survive winter by looking at features like feathers, fur and colour. At the end of the sessions, students will be able to observe their surroundings and describe features of their immediate environment.
In Mrs. Pitcher’s Grade 1 class, students classify living organisms according to winter survival strategies. They described seasonal activities that go with seasonal changes and how people, plants and animals prepare for winter. They classified non-living things such as ice crystals and snow into groups according to shape. They also discovered the basic needs of plants and animals and how they are met in the winter.
Sanne van der Ros, an environmental educator for Wildsight, has been delivering these programs for the last few winters for schools in the region, including Field Elementary, Edgewater Elementary, Eileen Madson in Invermere and Alexander Park Elementary.