The past couple of years we’ve had to pivot – yes, there’s that word again – and become more creative than ever in figuring out how to connect safely. Gathering in the great outdoors is one of the ways we can do that. Breathing in fresh air, engaging in outside activities, and connecting to nature can have positive effects on our physical and mental health.
Member-schools of the Wellness Coalition-Avalon East (WCAE) have embraced the outside, using both the natural surroundings available to them such as open fields or trails, and the built environment like parking lots and play structures, to expand the walls of their schools and potential for learning. With the assistance of WCAE grants, schools such as Topsail Elementary and Upper Gullies Elementary turned their parking lots into “game lots” by painting game templates of tic-tac-toe and twister on the pavement to encourage play and movement during recess and lunch.
Other schools are using the outside as an Outdoor Classroom. Beachy Cove Elementary, Rennie’s River Elementary, Newtown Elementary, Bishop Abraham Elementary, and Mobile Central High are creating spaces on school grounds to teach gardening, science, music, reading, writing, and physical education. Being in the natural environment encourages students to discover and experiment beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.
Interested in joining our network of wellness-minded community groups, organizations, and schools? Membership is free and more info can be found here.