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Blog: Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Taking Learning Outside

Over the past several years at École Clearbrook Elementary, we have seen an exciting increase in the ways that teachers are taking learning outdoors. Clearbrook’s extensive school grounds have led to the creation of an outdoor learning space amongst the trees that continues to be developed. This summer, an enclosed whiteboard will be installed in Clearbrook’s outdoor learning space, which will further enhance teaching opportunities. Clearbrook’s Green Team has created an edible garden bed that classes actively use. Currently, lettuce and spinach are starting to grow! As the school also backs onto Clearbrook Park and Downes Bowl, nature walks and activities are regular classroom occurrences. Some classes are getting outside on a weekly basis, some for special projects, and all staff and students participate in our annual school-wide Outdoor Classroom Day.

Recently, Mrs. Manuel & Mrs. Krause’s Grade 3 class transformed Clearbrook’s long jump sandpit into a culminating activity that demonstrated their knowledge about Semá:th Xόtsa (Sumas Lake) – its history, its geography, its ecosystem, its importance to the Stό:lō people. The students beamed with pride as they built up the Sumas & Vedder Mountains, dug out the surrounding waterways and planted cedar sprigs. They thoughtfully recreated their semblance of the area, prior to the lake being drained. Students confidently shared their understanding of the reciprocal relationship between the land, animals, and people who once lived there.

This past month, all Clearbrook students and staff participated in the annual event of Global Outdoor Classroom Day. Classroom Learning Day is a global movement to make time outdoors part of every child’s day. A little bit of rain did not deter Clearbrook students from spending the day reading & nature journaling amongst the trees, learning about Indigenous uses of cedar, planting seeds, doing nature-themed scavenger hunts, and doing nature games.

As we continue to take our learning outside, we discover new opportunities and ideas to expand our teachings and learning. We are excited to see what Clearbrook will do next!

Shannon Manky & Erica Hopkins

Clearbrook Elementary