Now, it's back to the daily routine of classes and tutoring. But will much change? Last week was about learning by engaging with the environment, exploring, discovering, observing and having flashes of insight. This week will be the same, only the venue will change. Students will still get their hands dirty exploring in the Science Lab or creating in the Arts. They will still get that personalized attention and sparks of insight that comes with hands-on math activities or focused tutoring sessions. Teachers will build upon last week's group bonding activities and reinforce them in their classroom communities. New friendships will extend out onto the playground or in clubs and sports activities.
Outdoor School is a great opportunity for staff to hang back, and while someone else is running the programme, they can really get a different perspective on their class in action. And this time spent by teachers and tutors carefully observing their students responding to new experiences and different types of learnings will help to inform their practice and give them insights into how each of their children and young adults learn best.
To be honest, the first few weeks of school are a bit of a waiting game for students and the adults working with them. There are the tentative first steps of renewing the learning process; establishing classroom routines and rhythms; doing math and language arts assessments; and structuring a tutoring plan for the year. But really, everyone in the school community is holding their collective breath, waiting for Outdoor School. The adults are waiting to fully solidify that bond that will propel student learning throughout the year; the students are waiting to cement friendships and get to know their teachers and tutors in a less structured, non-traditional environment - one in which everyone, adults and young people, are learners together.
The sunny days of Outdoor School are now behind us, and perhaps symbolically, the fall rains seem to have begun. But our community has gelled, the pattern of collaboration and learning has been cemented and we are all ready to plunge into our next adventure in learning.
I can't think of a better way to start the school year!