Canadian students are Connecting with Nature | Finding Solutions | 2014 | Summer | Publications | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: Canadian students are Connecting with Nature

Spending time outdoors helps students succeed in school, improving memory, problem-solving and creativity.

By Rachelle Delaney

This year, Grade 7 and 8 students throughout Canada will be out in their schoolyards, making s'mores in solar cookers while learning about renewable energy. Primary students will measure school air pollutants using only clothes hangers and tape, then brainstorm ways their families and communities can help reduce pollution. Meanwhile, kindergarten students will host impromptu playground band concerts with percussion instruments constructed out of natural materials they found.

These lessons and many more are part of a brand new suite of educational materials produced by the David Suzuki Foundation launching in September. The three Connecting with Nature educational guides for kindergarten, primary Grades 4 through 6, and Grades 7 and 8 will be available free online.

Our aim is to help teachers across the country foster a nature connection in their students. Studies show that spending time outdoors helps students succeed in school, improving memory, problem-solving and creativity. Children who spend time in nature are also physically healthier and more likely to protect nature as adults.

Connecting with Nature lessons were created and written by Foundation staff, Toronto District School Board educators and staff and students from Nipissing University's Schulich School of Education. A group of dedicated TDSB teachers also piloted lessons in their classrooms, reporting back on outcomes so we could improve them accordingly.

Each lesson includes classroom and outdoor components, step-by-step instructions and ideas for taking lessons further and getting local communities involved. Download guides at getbackoutside.ca. French versions will be available in early 2015.