Taking learning outside: Does connecting with nature benefit children’s learning and development? 

At the CPSN/RCÉL, we have many schools who are doing their projects outdoors – building trails, gardening, learning on the land and so much more! With technology becoming more prominent in the classroom, connecting students to nature has become an initiative for many educators. One of our CPSN schools, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School have taken their kindergartners outside to learn. For them, play and nature is about fun, curiosity, risk-taking, healthy development and seeing new opportunities to learn. Principal David McFall spoke about the school’s outdoor initiative at the 2023 LEGO Conference. He posits that engagement with the outdoors is vital to a child’s development. Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s outdoor classes are also highlighted in an upcoming documentary by Susannah Heath-Eves. Watch the teaser for the documentary below !

In the midst of the Covid pandemic, four students experience the magic of spending more time outside at their inner city public elementary school in Gatineau, Quebec. TAKE IT OUTSIDE is a documentary with intimate access to four students through the 2021-22 school year – a unique year teaching us important lessons about how education can adapt to children’s evolving needs. As the kids navigate challenges like managing trauma and fitting in as a newcomer, it becomes clear that the more time they spend outside at school – be it during recess, an outdoor math game, a skateboard lesson or a field trip –  the better prepared they are to handle what life throws at them. Please visit www.takeitoutsidefilm.com to learn more about the film and share it with your community.

Join us at the Breath of Fresh Air Outdoor Play Summit on September 27th to watch the premiere of this documentary !