Fall is (almost) here, and the rain is due any day now. Whether your kids are learning in school, online,though a distributed learning program, or home learning, don’t let the rain keep you inside. Fall is a magical time to learn outside.
We’ve always known that hands-on, experiential learning creates the kind of deep learning and connection that lasts. That’s why we welcome over 2000 field trip students a year to our farms to dig in the soil, plant seeds, harvest carrots, and connect to the living ecosystems that make our food systems possible. And playing and learning in the natural world allows us to learn with all our senses. Sure, you could look at a diagram of a tomato plant and watch a video about how they grow. But it’s no match to smelling that fresh tomato leaf scent as you brush through rough leaves, searching out just the ripest, reddest fruit, giving it a gentle tug to pull it from the vine, and then popping it in your mouth (after a quick wash). You can really feel how all that sunlight captured by the leaves and water and nutrients taken in by the roots has transformed into the sweet, bright, juicy fruit in your mouth, and how all that work done by that tomato, and the soil, rain, and sun before that (not to mention the bees!), is now nourishing you. You can’t help but feel connected, and grateful. That’s deep learning.
Health is at the front of all of our minds these days. Learning outside supports physical and mental health, as has been shown by many studies in the last few decades. Being outside in a safe place can contribute to lowered blood pressure, better immune system functioning, improved mood, better focus, and much more. Two hours a week of outside time in a natural setting, like a park, garden, wilderness area, or even an urban farm, is enough to give significant health benefits. Plus, outside is a safer choice to learn and play with friends. In fact, the BC CDC recommends taking students outside more often during the school day as a way to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19.
While learning and joy can be found in many learning settings, even digital, joy is so much easier to access when you’re outside. From the splashing in mud puddles, to finding the longest worm, to dancing in the rain, there’s so much to inspire joy outside, no matter the weather. And by giving your students the gift of being able to find joy and magic in the natural world, you’re giving them something they’ll be able to turn to in times of struggle for the rest of their lives. You can help them find the joy in the wind, in the rain, in fallen leaves and acorns, in all that Fall brings.
Learn with Us
Fresh Roots is honoured to offer outdoor learning opportunities on our David Thompson and Van Tech schoolyard farms this fall. We offer single and multi visit field trip programs for pre-K through secondary, including curriculum-linked programs, and flexible pricing to accommodate different group sizes. All of our programs are led by experienced educators, and have carefully created health and safety protocols to make sure we’re all staying healthy and also having a great time learning. Please visit our Vancouver Field Trips page to learn more about how you can join us.