the blog: on education outside

Not A Stick
Book Recommendations

Not A Stick

Thank you to Rene Gualtieri for contributions to this post! Not A Stick Play Having worked at a nature camp, I am very aware of the hesitation towards allowing children to pick up and play with sticks. It was a concern raised by parents and staff alike due to potential

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risky play with tools
Risky Play Resources

Risky Play With Tools In Schools

For generations, the use of tools was a rite of passage and a normal part of any child’s growth and development. Somewhere along the way, perhaps because of our focus on academics over trades, the use of real tools for real work has become an all but rare occurrence in

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what is risky play
Risky Play Resources

Risky Play: Getting Lost & Found In The Fog

If you’ve ever attended one of my teacher development workshops, you’ve heard me speak about the importance of allowing children to take risks in outdoor play and learning at school. The phrase ‘risky play’ has increasingly been used in education circles, and originated with Ellen Sandseter’s 2009 study, Categorising risky play—how

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Book Recommendations

Patterns Outside & In Nature

Math is all around us in nature, and patterning can be a great entry point for students to engage in mathematical thinking and learning while exploring and playing outdoors. The ability to recognize, name, extend and create patterns prepares children with a solid foundation for complex mathematics moving forward. Inspired

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Literacy Outdoors

Garden Literacy With Story Stones

This post has been edited to support families learning at home during the COVID 19 home learning season. Story stones can be used in your backyard, on your patio, or inside your homes for hours of imaginative and creative play. Story stones can also be used in a therapeutic way that

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School Garden Basics

What Seeds Need To Grow: A Seed Inquiry

Seeds are a fascinating lens through which a huge amount of curriculum can be explored. From mathematical routines like ‘which one doesn’t belong’ to sorting by attribute, to understanding adaptations and the needs of living things, a seed inquiry provides an entry to complex understandings, and a bridge to meaningful

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Literacy Outdoors

Garden Vocabulary Vase and Scavenger Hunt

One of my favourite, low prep ways to enhance and develop garden vocabulary in the outdoor classroom is to prepare garden vocabulary vases that serve as visual aids for a scavenger hunt. Inspired by the entry display into Van Dusen Gardens, a school garden vocabulary vase offers a visual and

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Classrooms to Communities

Playful Learning With Dandelions

Dandelions are a sure sign of spring and an early source of pollen in our Spring gardens. Often considered weeds by gardeners, dandelions offer a multitude of learning opportunities with an alternative perspective that highlights the value of biodiversity in garden ecosystems. Playing with, learning from, and preparing dandelions in

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School Garden Basics

Online School Garden Resources

Those of us teaching and learning outdoors are constantly on the look out for practical and inspiring tips for keeping the kids we learn with growing in our school gardens! This is in no way an exhaustive list, and if you have a great school garden resource the world should

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Imaginative Play Outdoors

How To Build A Dinosaur Garden

If you’ve ever fallen into the black hole of Pinterest, you’ve certainly seen some cute and fun ideas for gardening with kids. Which is great because, in my opinion, gardens that are built for and with children shouldn’t be so precious that kids feel unwelcome. And if you find respite

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