Last week, the Robertson Program traveled to our friends at Mine Centre Public School to have another visit at their outdoor kindergarten classroom – or as they call it, “camp.” Robertson Director Julie Comay, Research Consultant Joan Moss and Program Coordinator Zach Pedersen spent two days with Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) educators to begin a new project exploring how the time spent at camp is influencing the students’ learning experience.
On the first day, we collaborated with the RRDSB team to gain a deeper understanding of the role the outdoor classroom plays within the school’s kindergarten program. Mine Centre Principal Barbe Dennis, Kindergarten Teacher Marge Hale and Early Childhood Educator Sara Empey shared some of the activities they’ve done with children in the past and brought us up-to-date with what the class is doing now. We were also joined by RRDSB STEM Coordinator Brad Gushalak and Early Years/K-6 Coordinator Heather Bridgeman who shared many great ideas for activities at camp, as well as ideas about how we can document our work together.
We then spent some time with the students to get to know them before we visited camp with them.
Our second day at Mine Centre was what we were waiting for – a trip to the outdoor classroom! The kindergarten class led us down the dirt road to their camp – a cleared space in the woods with a place to gather as a group, a fire pit, a shelter for storing items and a series of trails heading off in every direction.
Ms. Hale led a discussion about what we heard in the forest. She then gave each student a bagel to spread peanut butter on with seeds. They then hung the bagel from a tree of their choice in the forest. Sure enough, the birds appeared! Watch the video at the bottom of this post to see a Chickadee snap up a seed from one of the student’s bagels!
Marge’s students then showed us around camp – including the brand new trail made by older students at Mine Centre P.S. What a great two days of exploration, curiosity and unforgettable learning.
Thank you to everyone at Mine Centre P.S. for making us feel so welcome and thank you to the Rainy River District School Board and Director Heather Campbell for their ongoing support of our partnership.