Similar to Celine’s recent post, students in my capstone “Outdoor and Environmental Education” had the opportunity to read and reflect on posts submitted by students in her “Hunger in the City” capstone on Sauvie Island. Both capstones engage elementary students on field trips into the great outdoors, but with different focal points.
Despite the different areas of focus, we observed many connections among the take away lessons from these experiences. In both classes hands-on, field based education became more than a fun learning experience. This type of education began being viewed as transformative in that it allows students the opportunity to take control of their learning and to solve problems without waiting for an “authority” to tell them the correct answer or course of action. Moreover, these kinds of experiences create a platform for open and honest communication among children and adults from a diversity of backgrounds.
Together, the ability to solve problems and communicate effectively provides children with the background to become successful leaders for social change. If these simple observations can transcend the specific outdoor contexts of farm and forest, then how do we facilitate this type of education on a regular basis? What other observations will we be able to make as this type of education becomes more prominent? And how can we as citizens continue to support these experiences throughout our lives?