Students participating in an outdoor education experience in the Golden area during COVID-19. (Meg Langley photo)

Students participating in an outdoor education experience in the Golden area during COVID-19. (Meg Langley photo)

Outdoor education project takes Golden’s students into nature

The program offers a way for students to learn in nature and safe from COVID

COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of daily life in the last year, including the classroom and how education is handled.

In an effort to get kids out of the classroom and outside into a safer environment, Meg Langley has helped launched the Wildsight Outdoor Classroom Project, which has recently been funded through the Golden Community Foundation COVID response grant.

The program involves equipping schools in Golden and area with gear for students to get outside, such as clipboards and seating pads, shovels, magnifying glasses, a backpack and paper that is able to withstand the elements, as well as providing teachers with materials and books on outdoor activities and outdoor learning.

Langley says that the outdoor curriculum goes beyond typical outdoor education and brings regular academic work outside. She’s a strong believer in outdoor learning, stating that there’s plenty of evidence that an outdoor environment can foster good learning behaviours and education.

“For me, it’s important for the teachers to realize that they can take school outside and it can be successful for everybody involved,” said Langley.

“Learning how to manage and work with kids outside is so important, so that going forward there will be more of the students time spent outside.

READ MORE: Plant awareness project seeks to educate on Golden’s native plants

Langley says it helps teach kids to prepare themselves for being outdoors and to take responsibility for dressing appropriately to prepare. She also says it can help teach that learning environments extend beyond the traditional classroom and can show students that there’s opportunities to learn everywhere.

Langley can speak first hand to an outdoor learning experience, saying that growing up, she attended forest schools where the majority of her learning was all completed outdoors.

“It’s a shift mentally to start thinking ‘why not be outside and what are the potentials’,” said Langley.

“There’s so much material to use for teaching in nature and the potential is quite remarkable once the teachers see it.

Forest schools began in Denmark in the 1950s and have been around as a formal concept since 1993.

According to a study facilitated by the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada, Forest Schools can improve student mental health, increase confidence, advance gross motor schools, increase resiliency and teach better self regulation.

“Generally, the kids get excited to go outside and get excited to learn, the response has been super,” said Langley.

Langley says the program has already seen success – she’s substitute taught in schools in the area and has already implemented the outdoor education, primarily at the Nicholson school.

She attributes the success in part to the buy-in of teachers and students alike in the area, stating it’s not hard when you live in a place like Golden.

“We live in a place ideally suited to being out of doors as much as possible,” said Langley.

“With COVID it’s great to use that to help our teachers and students get used to learning outside and take advantage of the situation while staying safe.”

The grant covered all the elementary schools for each student to get an outdoor kit, with intermediate schools receiving a classroom set up that can be checked out to be used by teachers as needed.

Outdoors and Recreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

Phase four of the Kicking Horse Canyon project will twin the winding stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Golden. (file photo)
Trans-Canada Highway reduced to one lane east of Golden

It’s the first of the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures which will ramp up in the coming weeks

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Vaccines are expected to become more widely available as the rollout speeds up in B.C. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Sleeves up Golden – vaccine rollout details released

More details about the provincial rollout were released yesterday

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals of Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Accident rates, injury claims and court costs have driven ICBC into deficit in recent years. (Black Press Media)
Judge rejects taking lawyers out of minor ICBC injury cases

Ruling the latest setback for B.C. NDP’s insurance cost reforms

Kelowna Olympian Malindi Elmore has been honoured locally for her contributions to the sport of running. She is one of five Okanagan athletes who received an athletic excellence award from PacificSport Okanagan, this week. (Contributed/UBC Okanagan)
Okanagan athletes, coaches honoured for achievements during pandemic

Among them, Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore and Jacob Rubuliak named Community Sport Heroes

Most Read