Day 57 – Week in Halifax!


I’ll admit to forgetting how fun tag is… especially when 30 primary students are chasing you!  The primary students at Southdale Elementary had an extended recess this morning and we had a chance to visit them as well as some grade 2’s for the morning.  All of the students wrote us letters and drew pictures – the primary students read Sarah and I their letters out loud in front of the class telling us what they liked to do outside.  Sarah’s friend Carolyn (who came to visit us in Truro the other night!) teaches this particular class and has had her students follow some of our progress online.  First of all, cute doesn’t even begin to describe this eclectic mix of wonderful little human beings!  But even more so, their exuberance for being outside is so incredible – Carolyn left it a secret about the extended recess and when they got told they could stay outside longer, the cheers and smiles made us smile in return!
This afternoon, we visited Bicentennial.  We chatted with grade 9’s for a bit and then went on a brisk walk to various millennium markers around the neighbourhood depicting significant events of the area.  Sarah was a popular hit!  This was the school she has taught at – it was like Tom Cruise was in town!  Pretty amazing to see how much she got mobbed in the hallway and the interesting conversations that were had on our walk.  But as we chatted with them, we really wanted to know why the exuberance we saw in the younger grades in the morning of being outside slowly seemed to fade with age.  One remark was that “fun” activities change.  What was fun in grade 2 is obviously different in grade 9.

In a world full of endless hours texting and typing and surfing and  controlling, I think a little game of tag outside could make a lot of  people laugh and smile more than they realize.

I’m a big fan of a TED talk by Ken Robinson where he explores the education system around the world.  In one segment, he makes the argument that we educate students out of creativity, with the focus in school being on the math and sciences and less on the arts.  We’re all born creative… we can all draw when we’re kids…but somehow we turn into these beings that lose that creativity.  And I can’t help but think the same point can be applied for being outside.  Kids love being outside when they’re young.  So by the time they reach their teenage years, why is it so much less important?  Perhaps our “fun” activities as we grow older include more technology, which keeps us inside more, which keeps us sitting still more often.   And again, we try hard to say that those “fun” technology-based activities aren’t necessarily bad.  But are we somehow educating our kids out of a sense of love for being outside and exploring nature?

Although you’d be hard-pressed to find grade 9’s playing tag… or adults for that matter… that simple game of tag this morning was a powerful reminder of how simple it can all be.  In a world full of endless hours texting and typing and surfing and controlling, I think a little game of tag outside could make a lot of people laugh and smile more than they realize.  It sure did for me this morning!

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