Sunday Snippet: Learning Deep Outside!
School certainly provides a significant portion of each child’s education, but it is important to acknowledge that most of a child’s learning takes place away from the desks, classrooms and school buildings. And it is that deeper learning that can have the greatest impact on the growth of each child!
I was inspired by a recent article posted on The Huntington Post by contributor Ben Klasky. Ben is the President and CEO of IslandWood, an innovative nonprofit organization that introduces thousands of low-income children to the outdoors each year. He explored how a late summer fishing trip with his boys, without lesson plans, smartboards or tablets, turned out to be an extremely effective deep learning experience for them! He is not advocating that we all pull our kids out of school and go fishing, rather that we understand the impact we as parents and youth development professionals have on children well beyond the classroom and the school day.
Taking a note from his article (School’s Back in Session – May the Deep Learning Continue), let’s explore a typical week in a child’s life. First of all, it consists of 168 hours, 70 which (in theory, anyway!) are spent sleeping. That leaves 98 waking hours. Assuming the typical school day is roughly 7 hours in length (beginning at 8am and ending at 3pm), the typical child is in school for 35 hours each week – keep in mind that approximately 5 of those hours are spent at lunch, recess and in transition between lessons & activities. So, that leaves 63 hours when a child is awake and not in school – 63 hours to go fishing, hiking, exploring a local forest or pond, watching the clouds or stars, visiting a library & museum, attending a concert and other performance, or any number of a vast array of deep learning experiences!
There is a lot of criticism out there pointed at the education of our children and how our schools are letting them down. Some of it is deserved, but much is not. What Mr. Klasky is really trying to illuminate are the innumerable opportunities we have as parents and youth development professionals to expose our children to deep learning throughout each day. Regardless of what our schools are or are not doing to serve our childrens’ education, we all have a responsibility to help our children and youth learn at every moment and in every setting!
And therein lies the beauty of a summer camp experience like WeHaKee Camp for Girls! The deep learning happens from the moment a child awakes in the morning until she sets her head on her pillow each night. On the sports field, in the pottery shed, doing arts & crafts, while grooming or riding a horse, out on the water while skiing, sailing or paddling, while hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, or even laying in the grass in the valley staring at the clouds as they float by. And what makes these deep learning opportunities most effective at WeHaKee? They’re FUN! Have a great week everyone!