While outdoor education has always been deeply seeded at Waldorf, the unique circumstances surrounding the pandemic put an added emphasis on moving classes outside. The Waldorf School of Baltimore has made changes and additions to their campus to accommodate yet more outdoor activities and classes. The construction of new outdoor classrooms gives the school’s campus enough space to have all of their students participating in outdoor classes. The school’s Pre-K, and Kindergarten classes have been fully on campus since the fall, while the lower and middle school students moved from part-time to full-time school on campus this spring. Here are four reasons why families at the school LOVE outdoor learning.

It’s Screen Free.
Over the last year too many children across the nation have been glued to screens for hours as part of distance learning. While teachers at the Waldorf School of Baltimore developed creative solutions that reduced the amount of screen time compared to many students in other schools, they all agree that being in person gives everyone a much-needed screen break. On-campus learning at the school is screen free for all students, preschool through eighth grade.

Being Outside Connects Kids to Nature.
Before the pandemic, outdoor learning and building a strong connection between children and nature was a key element of Waldorf education. As a certified Maryland Green School the importance of developing a healthy relationship with the Earth is also reflected in the curriculum through nature studies and is integrated into other subjects. In these classes students engage in such activities as observational journaling, self-guided questioning, pattern recognition exercises, math and literacy exercises, local and natural history lessons, and more.

Nature Inspires Creativity.
Not only did moving more classes outdoors encourage the school to get more creative in how to make their curriculum mobile, students are directly experiencing and learning about the weather and seasonal changes throughout the year. Experiencing the wonder of nature builds imagination and problem solving skills. The change of scenery helps focus students’ attention as they study. The arts-integrated curriculum at the Waldorf School of Baltimore incorporates using natural materials into the lessons including building shelters in the woods and illustrating the beauty and botanical details of plants and flowers with naturally-made crayons, paints, and pencils.

It’s Healthy.
Sunlight, fresh air, outdoor play and activity are all the ingredients that are shown to boost our moods. There are many health benefits to being outside including reducing stress, encouraging physical activities, and promoting positive emotions. Immersing children in nature also allows them to fully tap into whole-child learning as all of their senses are activated by the outdoors. Playing outside in varied natural environments develop balance, agility, tactile sensitivity, depth perception, and physical coordination.  As an added benefit, studies show that time in nature boosts the immune system.

The Waldorf School of Baltimore educates and inspires children to think, feel, and act with depth, imagination, and purpose. Students develop critical thinking, creativity, and intellectual awareness through a rich and rigorous curriculum. Learn more about this school on their website: www.waldorfschoolofbaltimore.org

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