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Starting Online and Learning Outside

Investing in students by providing nature-based education while learning from home.

Tree art

Published on July 07, 2020

Marked by virtual countdowns and pots and pans banging in the kitchen, schools across Canada have now let out for the year in a new way – online and at home. Evergreen, our partners, teachers and parents have spent the last few months of the school year keeping students inspired and curious about nature while learning in a new environment. 

Each year at Evergreen Brick Works, we welcome an average of over 200 classes for immersive, nature-based school visits, designed to connect children to nature, get them active, and cultivate their ecological literacy. During our school visits, teachers select from over 20 curriculum-linked programs, such as Geology Rocks, Indigenous Foodways, or Fighting Climate Change. Then, they head down to the Brick Works to meet a team of outdoor educators who facilitate these through outdoor learning. We believe that programs like these invest in the city builders of tomorrow – students who will grow to shape cities for the better – starting with connecting them to each other, to place, and to the planet. 

Shelter Building Evergreen Brick Works School Visits
Shelter building at Evergreen Brick Works during a school visit.

Since classrooms shifted to an online learning model, we saw the opportunity to continue the important work of connecting students to the outdoors, no matter where they live. With that, we asked our community of teachers and parents how we can best support them and came up with a new iteration of our longstanding Outdoor Classroom Newsletter - the Learning at Home edition.  

In this new edition, our team of outdoor educators whittled our School Visits program down to the core aspects that make it special, sharing Nature Activities and Outdoor Education Tips that can be used by teachers and parents now and throughout the year. With support from our Visiting Schools Program partners at HSBC Bank Canada and Bank of America and their commitment to education, this newsletter was made possible and distributed to over 5,000 parents and teachers. See an example of the newsletter here.

Some teachers, like TDSB teacher Mr. Goodman-Berger, had been incorporating them into his lessons.

It's been a helpful resource to keep things focused on being outside. And for the students who aren't going outside, these activities are easy to do from the window.
Mr. Goodman-Berger

Other teachers encouraged their network to sign up and receive these resources right in their inbox.

 

Come September, we’re excited to continue the important work of investing in our students by reintroducing School Visits to Evergreen Brick Works, and expanding Children & Youth Education nationally. These programs now include education at schools across the GTA, and our new Virtually Outdoors program – a unique and immersive virtual nature-based excursion.