Day 147 – 20.9 km (total – 3185.6 km)


Finished my run at the Holling River today.

Today was a combo day that included running in the morning, a presentation at Summitview Public School in Stoufville, and then back out to run a few more k’s. The trip to the school made up for the fact that my legs were not having a good day! The students at Summitview were fun to chat with… one student talked about the importance of exploring outside.

A couple of weeks ago, we were at a school in Ajax – Vimy Ridge P.S. Ms Ellwood’s students in grade 7 wrote in essay on why outdoor and environmental education is important and why it should be implemented into the school system – in part, the importance of exploring outside. This essay was researched and written by her students and she gave me permission to share it today. Thank you!

Outdoor and Environmental Education (OEE) should be a separate subject taught in elementary school. OEE would provide an outdoor learning experience with physical and social health benefits. It would allow kids to connect to the earth and be physically active. The benefits are endless.[/I]

To begin, OEE can help to improve the physical health of students. First, going outside to play and learn is physical exercise that will help kids maintain a healthy weight and reduce instances of childhood obesity. It is a great alternative to sitting in a classroom which burns very few calories and may lead to weight gain. Secondly, learning and being active outside improves heart health. For example, playing a OEE game like survival increases heart rate and improves heart health. Thirdly, being active and outside at a young age will encourage children to remain active when they are older. If kids enjoy being outside and active when they are young there is a stronger chance they will continue this lifestyle when they are older. In conclusion, introducing OEE to the curriculum would help to improve the physical health of students.

Furthermore, OEE will improve the learning and educational experience at the elementary school level. First, an OEE program would have a large focus on environmental issues such as global warming and habitat loss. Deeper knowledge on these issues will help students to make a larger impact on their day to day choices related to these issues. Also, an OEE course would largely be hands-on. This would be beneficial as it would help those kinesthetic learners gain a better education. Thirdly, an OEE class at school would help kids gain an appreciation for the planet. This appreciation would likely lead to students making more environmentally responsible choices as a part of their lifestyle. In sum, OEE in elementary school will teach students about the environment in a hands on way and lead to an environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Finally, OEE will help to improve the social and emotional health of elementary students. To start, OEE helps to build self esteem. Students will have a chance to show their strengths and talents in a different way and have more opportunities to build self confidence. Also, OEE at the elementary level will help to build teamwork within a class. Many activities are in groups and students will be encouraged to work together to overcome challenges. Lastly, OEE will help to build character in students. Activities in the outdoors challenge students’ character and with regular discussion this can lead to real awareness and appreciation for integrity and respect. In conclusion, OEE will help to build the social health of students from building self-confidence to teamwork and integrity.

In summary, Outdoor and Environmental Education would be a fantastic edition to the elementary school program. It would improve the physical and social health of students and deepen the learning experience at the elementary school level. Students need a chance to explore and learn in the outdoors. They need a chance to connect with nature and be active. Adding outdoor education to the curriculum would do exactly that and more.

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