At Tawingo College we get outside as often as we can for some important and practical reasons.
With a strong focus on outdoor activities children are more likely to:
- Be physically fit
- Be healthier
- Have better appetites
A 2011 University of Essex study shows that participating in outdoor activities improves children’s mental health, increases physical activity and boosts self-esteem. Children report feeling happier, more energetic and having a more positive outlook on their school, home and social lives.”
Despite this, a survey of young Canadians found that 70 per cent spend an hour or less a day outdoors. That is why Ontario has brought in a Children’s Outdoor Charter. It recommends 12 outdoor activities for Ontario children including swimming in a lake, harvesting something to eat, paddling a canoe and observing plants and wildlife. All twelve of the activities are things that Tawingo students engage in on a regular basis.
What’s more – we have found that regular outdoor activity stimulates learning.
The students at Tawingo College spend time running & playing outside before and after school, during morning and afternoon recess and at lunchtime. This outdoor time is spent on our wide expanses of grass playing fields, in tree forts, on toboggan hills, and digging in the dirt (they are kids and getting dirty is okay with us). Students, including those in the higher grades, come back inside after recess with rosy cheeks and lots of energy for learning. There are no handheld video games or ipods allowed on school grounds, and they probably wouldn’t want to look at them even if they were.
The Tawingo College Outdoor Education Program
This program is an important part of our school curriculum and a regular part of the school week. Depending on the grade level of the students, Outdoor Education includes exploring the natural environment, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, orienteering, rockwall climbing, cycling, making maple syrup, out trips, hiking, and gardening. It includes the study of astronomy, ecology, and experiential education, more specifically, in roughly alphabetical order…amphibian surveys and monitoring, benthic monitoring, bird, mushroom, moth studies, environmental art, environmental assessment, shoreline restoration and watershed awareness, soils, solar ovens and alternative energy, stream and pond studies, no trace firebuilding and camping, winter camping.
Students love our Outdoor Education Program and it not only teaches them important skills but also fosters a true love and respect for the environment that will last them a life time.