Learning in the Great Outdoors at Meroby RSU #10

Submitted by Kim Fuller, Principal of Meroby Elementary in RSU 10.

For the past three years, Meroby’s kindergarten students have been involved in an outdoor education program that promotes academic learning, social skills, problem solving skills and independence. The teachers; Maggie Corlett, Kristen Giberson, Heidi Ferguson and Jessica McMichael have done research, taken courses, and developed a curriculum to support our students. Each Wednesday, the students go into the woods to participate in a host of learning activities from searching for animal tracks, working on math skills using natural materials to working with their friends to build a shelter. Our guidance counselor joins the group for lessons on friendship, emotions and how to work together. These are just a few examples of the rich learning experiences our kindergarteners have each Wednesday.

The community has supported our program in a variety of ways; students from Region 9 worked to clear trails and make outdoor classrooms, the snowmobile club maintains trails to make access easier for our students, community members have donated warm clothing and boots, Sunday River Adaptive Ski Program has donated a sled so all students can participate in our program.

This year, not only kindergarteners are using the outdoor classrooms. First and second graders are going into the woods once a week to participate in science lessons based on the Common Core Standards. This opportunity for real hands on experiences with the curriculum is making learning fun and meaningful. We are proud of this program and will only add more rich learning experiences for our students in the future.