We are so fortunate that CDS is situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine, surrounded by natural country acreage and wetlands. While our abundance of natural learning spaces have always been readily accessible, we have never taken them for granted. Now during COVID, we intend to take more advantage than ever, across all grades, by encouraging our teachers to bring their students outdoors to learn and connect as often as possible.
Junior School students will continue to venture outside daily as part of their Outdoor Ed curriculum, recess, physical education and whenever it makes sense during their core classes (in compliance with the cohorting plan and while physical distancing). Just like they have always done, and more so – they will be learning throughout the Back 40, including in these existing spaces: the beautiful Ms. Collins Talking Circle, student-built Lean To, and designated Outdoor Ed Classroom situated in our courtyard between Junior and Middle Schools.
This year, Middle and Senior School teachers will be looking to create additional opportunities to bring their students outdoors as well, not just during the first few weeks and for Outdoor Education.
The addition of two new outdoor classrooms built from reclaimed wood logs that have been fashioned into desks and seats will make this easier and more seamless by creating a connection with the natural surroundings while allowing for optimal physical distancing. An accompanying blackboard with equipment storage space increases the number of subjects that can be taught outdoors.
All classes will be encouraged to go outdoors at some point throughout the day during the coming months. As noted in numerous studies, spending time learning outdoors not only provides a welcome break from mask wearing and fresh air, but is also an effective way to control the spread of COVID-19.
We will endeavor to keep students active and engaged every day. This is a key advantage of an Education with Balance at CDS.