I wandered through the garden on a quiet April morning recently, enjoying all the signs of life returning after the dormant Winter. I’m sure I could visit daily and find new and exciting growth! Nature is a powerful tool for an educator, we’re so fortunate to have it in our school’s backyard!
It’s been a busy Spring out in the ARE garden, filled with a lot of construction! Our classroom structure is now nearly complete-only a few finishing touches remain. The next major step is to have the concrete flooring poured and the path to ensure our classroom is accessible to all of our students.
We’re very proud of the work that has been done this year and look forward to seeing generations of ARE students to come learning and exploring nature in their own outdoor classroom!
We had such a great time last year with our Earth Week planting we’ve decided to continue the tradition! Every class will be spending time out in the garden this week cleaning, weeding, and of course adding more beautiful plants to our garden space. We’re focusing on Butterfly Meadows this year and hope to have the area fully planted by May.
We love seeing the garden filled with students during Earth Week! Stay tuned for after pictures!!
Our annual spring flower basket sale is on NOW! We’re running things a little differently this year and we think you’re going to love it!
Alberta Rider Elementary School.
Our McMenamins Restaurant fundraiser was a huge success. Your support dining at McMenamins in Sherwood last Tuesday earned the ARE garden and outdoor classroom over $1100.00! Those funds will be directly invested in the development of our dynamic outdoor learning facility.
We hope you enjoyed the night out as much as we did and we thank you for helping ARE garden grow!
Dine out at the Sherwood McMenamins on Tuesday, February 10th, from 5:00 pm until close and you will help the Alberta Rider Elementary School Garden grow!
No need to bring a flyer or even declare your garden support, our generous friends at McMenamins will donate 50% of ALL purchases after 5:00 pm to our school.
So, take the night off from cooking and come grab a burger and a beer, or any of McMenamins other delicious items and help ARE garden grow!
Time spent learning in nature can have a profound effect on a child’s state of mind and depth of learning. Studies have shown that time spent outside can reduce stress and anxiety in children and can help deepen student’s understanding of complex concepts.
Project Learning Tree has published their own Top 10 list with Adjunct Professor of EE at University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point, Susan Roth:
Imagination and enthusiasm are heightened – EE is hands-on, interactive learning that sparks the imagination and unlocks creativity. When EE is integrated into the curriculum, students are more enthusiastic and engaged in learning, which raises student achievement in core academic areas.
Learning transcends the classroom –
Not only does EE offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom, it enables students to make connections and apply their learning in the real world. EE helps learners see the interconnectedness of social, ecological, economic, cultural, and political issues.
Critical and creative thinking skills are enhanced –
EE encourages students to research, investigate how and why things happen, and make their own decisions about complex environmental issues. By developing and enhancing critical and creative thinking skills, EE helps foster a new generation of informed consumers, workers, as well as policy or decision makers.
Tolerance and understanding are supported –
EE encourages students to investigate varying sides of issues to understand the full picture. It promotes tolerance of different points of view and different cultures.
State and national learning standards are met for multiple subjects –
By incorporating EE practices into the curriculum, teachers can integrate science, math, language arts, history, and more into one rich lesson or activity, and still satisfy numerous state and national academic standards in all subject areas. Taking a class outside or bringing nature indoors provides an excellent backdrop or context for interdisciplinary learning.
Biophobia and nature deficit disorder decline –
By exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play outside, EE fosters sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for the environment. It combats “nature deficit disorder” … and it’s FUN!
Healthy lifestyles are encouraged –
EE gets students outside and active, and helps address some of the health issues we are seeing in children today, such as obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression. Good nutrition is often emphasized through EE and stress is reduced due to increased time spent in nature.
Communities are strengthened –
EE promotes a sense of place and connection through community involvement. When students decide to learn more or take action to improve their environment, they reach out to community experts, donors, volunteers, and local facilities to help bring the community together to understand and address environmental issues impacting their neighborhood.
Responsible action is taken to better the environment –
EE helps students understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, builds knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, as well as ways we can take action to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future. Service-learning programs offered by PLT and other EE organizations provide students and teachers with support through grants and other resources for action projects.
Students and teachers are empowered –
EE promotes active learning, citizenship, and student leadership. It empowers youth to share their voice and make a difference at their school and in their communities. EE helps teachers build their own environmental knowledge and teaching skills. I hope these “top ten” benefits will give you the confidence and commitment to incorporate EE into your curriculum!
As a parent and active school volunteer I know I would welcome these benefits for my son, wouldn’t you? Let’s get our kids outside and reap the benefits for all of out students!
Alberta Rider is not unique in having a school garden. Many other area schools have successfully incorporated gardens into the school grounds and the day to day life of the student body.
One nearby example is at Charles F. Tigard Elementary School. Students have had plenty of hands on learning at CFT. They’ve planted potatoes, used recycled materials to start marigolds that were transplanted outside, and have grade specific garden beds! Way to go CFT!
Neighboring school, Mary Woodward, has also found ways to incorporate the great outdoors into a great education.
Take a look around your school grounds. Could you find a sunny spot for a few raised beds or garden rows? Talk to your school administration. They may be hoping that a dedicated volunteer like you would come along and bring a garden dream to life!
In Spring of 2014 our 4th grade students delved deep into Native American history. As part of their group project they wrote an original play. Our woodland garden provided the ideal location for their presentations.
Mrs. White’s class presentations were a success!
Ms Curtis’ crew also took their final presentations out to the garden!
Math, science, and social studies-just a few examples of subjects that can be successfully transported outside!