Outdoor Education Blog

Learning Beyond the Walls

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We're Growing!

This month our Greg, Matt and Steve (our handsome building team) got out the hammers and nails and started pounding...nope it isn't the Great Edge nail race- we decided to build a few more winterized cabins! Our winter programs have been growing and not all guests are adventurous enough to stay in quinzees!

These cabins will be quite comfortable with propane heat (Wahoo- no stoking the fires at night!) and their own composting toilets. This means we can share our winter programs with more of your students! They are scheduled to be finished at the beginning of January- we hope you get a chance to check them out this winter!

Learn more at ExpEd.ca

Monday, November 13, 2006

Have a Healthy Winter

The leaves have fallen off the trees and we have a regular sprinkling of snow. Unfortunately, this is the beginning of the season that many people dread. Sadly, it is one of the most tempting seasons for many kids to stay inside and watch tv. This is not a healthy option- and as highlighted in recent national studies, many of our kids are developing unhealthy lifestyles and showing physical signs of medical malaise.

As educators, parents and role models we need to be sharing (perhaps even discovering) the many great activities that you can participate in seasonally. Winter is a great month for playing outside- the snow is a great medium for so many fun activities, skiing, snowshoeing, skating, dog sledding etc. There are also a number of great games you can play with children- build snow forts, snow people, observe animal tracks, have a 'below the neck' snowball fight etc.

As a part of school curriculum, these activities can be built into classes with a little creativity- art 'snow sculptures', chemistry- insulating factors of snow demonstrated with snow forts, etc. In upcoming months, in our newsletter 'Beyond the Walls', I plan on introducing a number of great activities for teachers to use to get students outdoors in the winter.

Of course, you could also book a youth winter retreat with us and we could introduce you and your youth group to a variety of fun and adventurous winter activities.

Approach winter with a positive attitude, and help your students to see how fun the winter can be. Not only will you be happier but your students may be healthier.

Learn more at ExpEd.ca

Monday, November 06, 2006

English- Algonquin Style

Last week students from the College Lycee, in France, came to experience Algonquin wilderness, and learn English. These teenagers were full of enthusiasm- and had so much energy we decided that they needed to start off with a few games- there was alot of noise and laughter as students ran into each other while playing 'huckle/ buckle' (while learning English words for body parts) and used their acting skills for 'bear, frog, mosquito'.

We also took the students on a hike on the 'One-a-Day' trail where we introduced students to Canadian trees and animals. I was interested to hear that many of the students came from the city and had never been in the forest before. I felt privileged to introduce them to a place (the bush) that I love so much!

I had them meet the trees in the hardwood bush. Students had an opportunity to touch a variety of bark, leaves and twigs. I was surprised that this group of city kids did not hesitate to step off the trail and get their hands dirty! They really enjoyed themselves.

We had a great evening talking about Algonquin wolves and their niche in the local environment. Then we howled our way up to the fire pit for a campfire and smores!

The next morning we awoke to a winter wonderland! I was concerned that the students and their chaperones would be a little ‘put off’ by the weather. Boy was I wrong! They could not be more excited about the snow! Apparently they don’t get a lot of snow in the city where they live and were delighted to see Canadian snow before they left for home.

At the request of the group, we ended up walking through the woods and having a crazy snowball fight! After everyone was exhausted we finished the morning by making dream catchers and sipping hot chocolate around the woodstove.

Their visit was short and I was sorry to see the group leave- however I was tiered!

Learn more at ExpEd.ca