Aubrey Elementary School students ditched their desks last week in favour of the great outdoors.
On Friday, the whole school headed to Burnaby Lake Park for an all-day outdoor learning experience.
Rotating through different activity stations, students learned about local First Nations, plant life, fall animals and nature photography.
At one station, pairs of students were given fanciful fairy doors to place into natural nooks and crannies and decorate with leaves, pinecones and the like.
Students then created and wrote down a name and backstory for their woodland fairy.
The outdoor day, a first of its kind for the school, was spearheaded by primary teacher Jolene Carlsen.
“Kids these days have a lot of technology in their lives,” she told the NOW, “and I think that having them be outside, experiencing nature, it’s good for them physically, good for them emotionally, and it also ties them to their outdoor environment.”
The school, with help from its parent advisory council, has already built an outdoor classroom.
And Carlsen, a big believer in outdoor education, takes her kindergarten/Grade 1 students to Burnaby Lake Park once a month.
“I think that they feel more free, and they’re definitely more excited and more focused and they’re able to notice more things,” she said of the monthly outings.
“They’re curious; they have lots of questions and they make lots of interesting connections and then we get a lot of good discussion out of it.”
Getting the whole school involved helps build community within the school and connects students to their larger Burnaby community and environment, according to Carlsen.
“I think that teachers are starting to see the benefits of taking their kids outside,” she said.