While COVID-19 has brought great disruption to schools, there also have been many opportunities and innovations, allowing schools to do something different. The surge of outdoor education programming across Maine is an exciting example.
At Greenbush Public Schools this year, PreK through second grade students are able to get outside in outdoor classrooms on campus and spend far more time breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sunshine. Meanwhile, students in third through fifth grade have spent time in their camp chairs and at Acadia National Park, where they have been learning math, science and literacy concepts, and students in the middle school are participating in a year-round Outdoor Adventure Classroom on Caribou Pond.
“In addition to all the academics we normally do, our students are also learning about forestry, Maine waters, the woods, snow-shoeing, creating a walking trail, and basic survival skills,” said Greenbush Public Schools Superintendent & Building Administrator Gwen Smith. “This year, we expanded our Outdoor Adventure Classroom to include a paddling program for students in Grades 5-8.”
In Greenbush, along with all the important subjects of learning, they are also teaching students to love and appreciate the environment where they live and to cherish the friendships they forge when they fish, swim, gather wood for a fire, cut brush on a trail, and cook their own meals.
This story is part of the Maine Department of Education’s Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To learn more or submit a story or idea, email Rachel at email@example.com.