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Kindergarten Class Takes Learning for a Walk

Getting outside to learn!
Ms. Janna Sullivan’s Kindergarten class has been taking part in The Walking Curriculum. After being introduced to the program by Junior School Teacher Librarian Mrs. Sarah McLeod, Ms. Sullivan decided to sign-up for the spring 30-day challenge. 

The Walking Curriculum is a place-based approach to education that allows students to learn within the natural and cultural context of where they go to school.

“We’ve been taking our learning outside every day for 30 consecutive days,” explained Ms. Sullivan. “This has included inquiry-focussed walks. For example ‘the shadow walk,’ where students wondered, where can we find shadows? How are shadows made? Can we make shadows disappear?” 

A lot of the activities the students have taken part in are open-ended, inquiry-based and involve exploration of their surroundings. They spent time along the amazing shoreline on the Beach Drive Campus, investigating tidepools at Willows Beach and wondering “What lives here?” when looking at the school gardens. 

Their classroom learning has also gone outside, where students have held puppet plays in the amphitheatre, completed data collection in the school gardens and had buddy reading in the shade of the trees. 

“There’s always something exciting to see, hear or discover when you’re with 14 Kindies,” said Ms. Sullivan. “I love seeing their sense of wonder, excitement and teamwork. Seeing the Kindergarteners pursuing their inquiries—finding what interests them and the tools they need to explore it further.” 

The theme of the Walking Curriculum was “Evoking Wonder and Developing A Sense of Place,” which Ms. Sullivan said was a perfect fit for the IB PYP Kindergarten Programme of Inquiry. 

“As we love our Thursday Nature School outings, this seemed like a wonderful way to incorporate our weekly outdoor learning on a daily basis,” said Ms. Sullivan. “It’s a great way for our inquirers to connect to their surroundings, using their observation and research skills in a hands-on way while they get outside and investigate what captures our curiosity.”

She said she hopes students got a sense of fun, wonder and appreciation for their surroundings from the Walking Curriculum. “Also, the ability to observe, research, think critically and be flexible,” she said. “To develop an enjoyment for the outdoors—to be able to reflect on which types of environments and activities they like best.” 

Ms. Sullivan looks forward to resuming the challenge for the 2021/2022 school year when—with the goal of 30 days per term, rain or shine—they will take their learning outside!
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Glenlyon Norfolk School

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