Outdoor Education is a vibrant and valued component of learning at Pathfinder K-8. There are many ways Pathfinder embraces outdoor learning, one of which is in the Pathfinder Garden Classroom. Over the past 4 years, the Garden Classroom has been built and tended by students. It includes both native and edible garden features, as well as artistic implements. The garden is a central community-builder with seasonal festivals and work parties. Classes come to the garden year-round for hands-on outdoor learning opportunities. Students are responsible for at least 90% of the work done in the garden. They dig out weeds while learning plant anatomy. They taste nutritious vegetables and take home healthy recipes. They collect rainwater data, and get hands-on science lessons as they explore soil composition and plant seeds. The learning potential in an outdoor garden classroom is high across all learning types.
Benefits of the Garden Classroom include:
- Kinesthetic learning through physical garden work
- Connection to culture and history – almost every culture in history has had to farm.
- Better food choices – Believe it or not almost every student in garden class asks for more kale.
- Understanding and interest in the natural world- The garden is a microcosm of the greater ecosystem.
- Social skills – delayed gratification, working together and relying on each other. Passionate teamwork is a constant, naturally occurring phenomenon in garden classes.
- Hands-on academic lessons – Gardening is a natural and ongoing science experiment, and lends itself easily to mathematical, writing, and artistic curriculum.
The list goes on. The Garden Classroom is a beloved component of outdoor education and community building at Pathfinder. It sits right around back of the school. Please feel free to visit anytime.
Outdoor Education is woven into the classroom curriculum as well via field and camping trips. Pathfinder students explore the natural world around them observing ecosystems, geology, natural history and local geography out in the field! Outdoor Education encourages students to become stewards of the earth and emphasizes the importance of creating a supportive and safe community in which people work together as a team. Perhaps most important our outdoor trips allow students to gain self-esteem, confidence and independence.