May 17

Geometry and Spatial Reasoning in the Early Years: Connecting to Nature with the YRDSB

The Robertson Program has had the opportunity to work with the impressive numeracy team from the York Region District School Board to create a four-part PD series to deepen knowledge and understanding of geometry and spatial reasoning in the Early Years.

Yesterday, our work together took us to Black River P.S. in Sutton, Ontario, where we looked at ways in which math and science can be explored outdoors.

Bev Caswell and Joan Moss led the morning session, with educators sharing their exciting experiences of coding with children and trying out ideas from our previous session on computational thinking and coding.

Haley Higdon, the Program Lead of Natural Curiosity, led the group in a knowledge building circle responding to the question of how to inspire a life of active participation in, coupled with deep love and respect for Mother Earth.

Educators spoke about the ways in which interacting with nature inspires creativity and appreciation of one’s surroundings. They spoke about the power of creating outdoor educational experiences by knowing the curriculum very well in order to make those connections. Others spoke about working with families to help create a societal shift, showing how outdoor classrooms can broaden the notion of the kinds of learning that can happen.

Inspired by Haley’s session, we worked together to brainstorm ideas and create activities to try with children. The school has access to a beautiful forest, and in the afternoon, the children led us along the forest paths, sharing their delight in nature and their observations about trees along the way.

We provided string for them to use to measure the circumference of various trees. The children then lined up their strings to compare various lengths, then put the strings in order from shortest to longest.

The day wrapped up with a debrief of our experiences outdoors and a presentation by xx who shared many ways of connecting curriculum to  meaningful experiences in nature with children.

Thank you to Black River P.S. for hosting us and thank you to this wonderful group of YRDSB educators. Thank you, also, to the YRDSB’s Hilary Greavette, who worked with us to plan these four sessions.

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