With our Kindergarten Virtual Open House taking place on March 16, Sarah Lund, Admissions Associate at the Junior School, reflects on the ways in which our Kindergarten students use their environment as a learning tool.
At SMUS, we truly believe our students to be highly capable learners. Our Kindergarten students demonstrate this daily within the walls of the Junior School, and they also take this ethic into the great outdoors where they show curiosity and a sense of wonder about the local environment and their place in the world.
Every Friday morning, the Kindergarten classes venture together on their outdoor learning excursion led by outdoor education specialist Mr. Jamie Pope. The Kindergarten children demonstrate great resilience – venturing out to experience learning in all weather conditions. Most recently they walked all the way to Kitty Islet and previously, Anderson Hill. Each of those two destinations is an almost three-kilometre round trip!
We are so fortunate to have a wonderful parent community with moms, dads and grandparents able to join us on our outings. They witness firsthand this natural curiosity and inquisitiveness which are nurtured in this unique and beautiful environment.
These weekly adventures encourage students’ curiosity and inquiry in a natural environment and promote active participation building on their many observations and interests. On these walks they are able to experience the accessible beauty offered by our surrounding beaches and parks and better understand the natural world.
As researchers of their world, the Kindergarten students embody the spirit of scientists, asking questions, making exploratory observations, using their senses and growing their knowledge. Stewardship, geology, tidal life, Indigenous and First Peoples knowledge, and plants and animals are just a few of the many topics our Kindergarten children wonder about.
When reflecting on these excursions, Kindergarten student Devon says, “I learn so many things when I go on beach walks. It’s important to know about nature because that’s where animals live. My teachers help me learn – like making tents.”
“I like learning about undersea creatures with Mr. Pope. We made fun creatures with bull kelp!” added Zara. “It’s a type of seaweed that is yellow. I took a close look at it with a magnifying glass.“
These engaging visits into nature are brought back to the classroom and used to extend and deepen learning. Inspired by a recent visit to the beach, the students used loose part materials to recreate tidal scene mosaics, which they now proudly display.
Each Kindergarten class creates a weekly newsletter to encapsulate the activities and make learning visible. You can find a sample of our Kindergarten Weekly newsletters in the gallery below. These wonderful Kindergarten Weekly letters are a precious memory of the rich and varied activities which encourage the students’ natural curiosity and inquisitiveness in a natural learning environment that encourage active participation.
Kindergarten students at SMUS have enhanced and engaging offerings, and Friday expeditions certainly end their week in a very fulfilling way.