Before You Start: Preparing To Use The Walking Curriculum

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Before You Start:  Be Prepared

  1. Inform parents and/or caretakers of your plan to bring students outdoors more often for their learning. You might send a letter home that describes the pedagogical value of your practice so that they do not consider this outdoor learning as “wasted time” or “time off task”. You might direct them to the IEE website (www.ierg.ca/IEE) so they can learn more about this philosophy.
  2. Be prepared for weather. Consider equipping your classroom with some rain ponchos—these can be purchased very inexpensively, but will allow you to encounter place in dry and wet weather. During very cold weather you will have to determine the appropriateness of taking kids outside—readers in Winnipeg, I hear you! But do ensure students have appropriate clothing (such as hats, scarves, and gloves) so they can engage with place in all weather conditions.
  3. Discuss your plans with your administration. Indicate the pedagogical value of what you plan to do. Gain their support. They, too, might benefit from reading more about IEE (www.ierg.ca/IEE).
  4. Think about how each walk can support your curricular objectives—walking-focused activities will engage students with place, but can also “spill over” into your other teaching plans and become the basis for work in Science, Mathematics or some other subject area.
  5. Be sure to spend time exploring your schoolyard/school grounds in order to determine where you can safely allow students to walk. Depending on the walk theme or topic, students may freely wander within the confines of the schoolyard or may follow a predetermined route that includes some, if not all, of the perimeter of the school grounds. The more familiar you are with what the schoolyard has to offer, the easier it will be for you to determine the best route. Depending on the age of your students, you may also have walks that go outside the school grounds; leaving the schoolyard will require additional permissions, of course, but would be worthwhile if you have local parks or green spaces to explore. Also think about how to send students in pairs, individually, or in small groups in different directions; this will minimize the likelihood students will distract each other.
  6. Feel comfortable. It may be that getting kids outside is new for you. That’s okay! Read imaginative educator Anne Chodakowski’s Tips for taking kids outside.

Check out ALL THE WALKS here!

 

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