Several weeks ago Andrew Deaett, our Project Manager for Place-Based Education had the chance to connect with Megan Dubuque from Bradford Elementary School and to join her second-grade class for Forest Day. Learn more about her experience bringing Forest Days to Bradford.
Educator: Megan Dubuque and Steph
Grade level: 2nd grade
Where: Bradford Elementary School,
What: Each Wednesday, Megan and
Steph take their combined second
grade outside to spend the morning
and afternoon learning in the woods.
Wednesday’s follow a predictable
Following an opening circle, students disperse throughout the woods to spend 10 minutes at their sit spots noting what has changed in the forest since their last visit. Megan and Steph then teach an academic lesson such as using objects found in the forest to visualize place values, and do addition and subtraction. Lunch is brought out from the school cafeteria on a wheeled cart, and students enjoy their lunch while sitting together around a fire. Students then lead
excursions such as games, nature study, and popcorn making. After excursions, students return
to the fire and make snacks over the fire such as venison stew, hot cocoa, cornbread and much
more! The afternoon ends with a closing circle around the fire where students share their
reflections and what they learned that day.
Most successful part: I would say the most successful part is just being able to make it happen. So many classes are struck by time and schedule and just can’t get out into the woods for a three hour chunk like we can. It took a lot of time and work with the master schedule and services to protect that time. It was also very successful to be given the donation for supplies and organization of materials.
Most exciting part as an educator: One of the most exciting parts of the program would be seeing students who don’t excel and lead in the classroom step into that natural role in the woods. It also excites me to see them so excited to go out. When they see animals in the woods they get so thrilled. Bringing that natural curiosity to them makes me inspired and hopeful that they will grow to love nature and being outside as much as I do.
Published April 18, 2023