Learning in the Great Outdoors

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

From the Introduction of Learning in the Great Outdoors: A Stewardship Approach to Curriculum K-6

In our Catholic schools, we work each day to respect God’s creation: animals, plants, the environment, humanity, and so on. We have environmental action clubs, recycling programs, greenhouses and community gardens, and we celebrate Earth Month and Earth Day every April. The team that gathered to work on this resource recognizes the great work that is already happening in our Catholic schools. We have worked to develop lessons and activities that will help you further develop ecological learning that reflects our Catholic Social Teaching to “Care for Creation”. This resource is meant as a starting point or a stepping-stone for teachers of Kindergarten and grade 1 to grade 6 to take learning outside and incorporate outdoor learning into day-to-day teaching and learning practices.

Pope Francis, an avid environmentalist writes “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (Laudato Si). It is our belief, as a team of teachers, that our Catholic schools must initiate this conversation with our students so that our Catholic graduates leave our schools with a sound understanding of learning in nature, learning with nature, and respect for nature. By taking learning outside, teachers can help students become Christians who care for and respect the environment.

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