Article content continued
The B.C. Ministry of Education says its pandemic back to school working groups have discussed different strategies that encourage physical distancing and one of them is taking students outside more often.
“This could involve organizing learning activities outside including snack time, place-based learning and other unstructured time,” said ministry spokesperson Craig Sorochan, in an email Friday.
“Classes such as gym and activities that involve movement happen outside and playgrounds are also a safe environment with appropriate hand hygiene practices before and after usage.”
Teachers were taking classes outside in June when school reopened and this practice was recognised as an option, he added.
Wilson said going back to school will be stressful for many students and teachers, and she believes more outdoor time will help reduce some of that stress.
“It will help with the social distancing aspect because when they are outside generally they have more space,” she said. “When they have the freedom to be outside it helps them to process everything that has happened in the last few months.”
Most forest schools are independently run, but some are in partnership with school boards.
“We really feel for educators right now, and how overwhelmed they must be feeling right now, and it’s our desire to help them feel supported in navigating the pandemic, so that’s really why we developed Thrive Outside because it’s challenging if you are not used to getting children to learn outside,” said Wilson.