That’s a wrap on the Take Me Outside for Learning Challenge 2021/22!

“It became part of our daily routine. Every single day we got outside for meaningful leaning opportunities. It became more than what we did. It was who we were. My kids craved it and loved it. It changed all of us”- Primary teacher, Alberta

Another school year is finishing up, and we are once again bringing the Take Me Outside for Learning Challenge to a close.

If this is your first time hearing about it: the TMO for Learning Challenge is a commitment to ongoing outdoor learning throughout the school year, which involves taking your learners outside at least once a week. It initially started as an extension of Take Me Outside Day, which occurs each October, when we heard a desire from educators to continue the momentum throughout the entire year! Participants are provided with a monthly mail-out featuring professional development opportunities, resources, outdoor learning activity ideas to support the journey and spark inspiration.

This year, we also added monthly Virtual Campfire Connections: events to create an informal, non-judgemental, and fun space for educators to learn, share and connect around all things related to outdoor learning. Stay tuned for more next year!

We are deeply grateful to work with folks across the country building this amazing community that grows in its reach and impact each year. We simply couldn’t do it without the dedication of passionate educators who continuously commit to championing outdoor learning within their communities – THANK YOU!

Some 2021/22 Learning Challenge stats:

  • Total registered educators: 6991
  • Total learner participants: 282,007
  • Folks signed up from all over the country, from coast to coast to coast! Ontario and British Columbia had the most registrations overall. The only province or territory not represented was Nunavut.

Thank you so much for your time, support, and inspiration! The pro d opportunities, information, and ongoing encouragement was just right for me and I look forward to connecting other teachers and school staff to TMO next year. Getting outside weekly for an entire school year feels like an amazing accomplishment in this year of chaos. It certainly supported my personal teacher mental health! Thank you for all of this.” – Intermediate teacher, British Columbia

Big congratulations to our grand prizes winners: Karen Fong and Deborah Quail-Blier! Karen is headed on an all-expenses paid trip to Banff, Alberta, and we are grateful to our sponsoring partners in this, especially Banff Lodging Company for their generous donation of a 4 night stay. Deborah received $1000 to spend at the Outdoor Learning Store generously donated by the Pacific Foundation for the Understanding of Nature!

And a special shout-out to Cataline Elementary School in BC, who had the most teachers officially signed up for the Learning Challenge this year (16!). Great work!

Deborah Quail-Blier: “We just LOVE being outside and so we can do just about anything outside that we do inside.”

Above photos are courtesy of Deborah. You can follow along with her on Twitter here. And feel free to drop your own social media handle(s) in the comments below!

Over the course of the past year we’ve seen many educators getting more creative about what their outside time looks like. It could mean bringing activities outdoors you’d usually default to inside, or bringing community-based experiences closer to your class, like our other grand prize winner Karen did with her students in Ontario:

“With Covid restrictions, we were unable to do a kindergarten fall trip anywhere…so we brought the pumpkin patch to our school! We did lots of fun activities at our “patch”!” – Karen Fong

Whatever outdoor learning looks like to you, we are here to support and celebrate it. Take a peek through some of the commonly used hashtags on social media for a glimpse of inspiration, fun, and active learning: #TMO4LearningChallenge #TakeMeOutside #TMODay #TakeMeOutsideDay #TMOWinterChallenge

Here are just a few recent examples from Twitter via Learning Challenge participants:

Today, we celebrate ALL of our Learning Challenge participants. We’ve got a few more photos featured below that were sent to us throughout the challenge – click the images to see them larger. Thanks again and see you next year!

Daily nature walks opened up many meaningful discussions about nature and other topics, provided excellent bonding time with each other and with nature, exploration of biodiversity and the life that shows up at seasonal changes, and to be a part of a challenge that so many other likeminded people were doing were all integral to our experience.” – Intermediate educator, Nova Scotia

This really gave me the encouragement to do what I know is best for my students.” – Primary teacher, Québec

My students have had the most authentic, land based learning of grade 1 curriculum that I have ever seen in my 20 years of teaching! Experiencing the 4 seasons outside and the water cycle ( with our VERY wet spring) made teaching so easy and relaxing for me. Nature provided and I feel like I guided learning and the result was students who are now ambassadors to our land, knowledgeable about their community, respectful of the environment and appreciative of all the land and our forest can offer. I feel we also handled mental health concerns after these last 2 years much better by being outdoors.. the healing power of nature!!! 🙂” – Early years & primary educator, Manitoba

This is absolutely the kind of program that keeps me engaged as a classroom educator, and former Outdoor Educator. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.” – Intermediate teacher, Ontario

Thanks for inspiring me to keep kids learning to love being outside and finding their joy. Let the summer begin!” – Primary teacher, Ontario

P.S. You can be the first to know when registrations re-open again for Take Me Outside Day and the Learning Challenge by clicking here. Until then, have a great summer!


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