【 幸福学堂 】 在自然中成长

我亲爱的朋友们:

对于展示我们学校的户外活动特点,这是非常特殊的,因为这和我的心紧密相连。作为一个母亲和教育工作者,自然之道让我能和许多家庭一起,将健康的户外活动和自然探索带给我们的孩子们。我们从逃离城市出发,然后演变为一个又一个愉快的体验;孩子们自由开放地玩耍,在小径中、树叶里、树皮上、岩石上展现一个又一个的好奇心。这是父母和教育工作者的愉悦!

从那时起,我就开始探索让这种“周末活动”成为青少年更常规的体验。根据儿童与自然网络这个机构,其创始人Richard Louv的书《森林中的最后一个孩子》,以及大量的研究表明:更多接触自然能够改善情感和身体的健康,播撒环境保护的理念,并能给孩子们展现一个活的、呼吸的“户外教室”。我曾在四面是墙的教室中呆过很多时间,这些教室沉闷,大多被人造灯光照亮,教育的体验往往局限于课本和课表。从很多方面看,幸福学堂意识到了这一点。实际上,学堂的宗旨中包括了一个很重要的方面,即身心强健,包括花很多时间在户外。我所喜爱的是,学堂能够将自然教育整合到我们的日常课程中,为我们的学生创造一个更健康、更多探究型的、真实的学习方法。

我们平衡社会对学习的期望,比如经常在白板上学习数学,冬季和雨天我们在遮风挡雨的教室里。但幸福学堂的小学部很明确地将自然活动整合到我们周五下午的“户外教室”中,我们称为“周五探索”课。这些活动是小心设计好的,它们和我们学生在课堂内学到的内容是想联系的,比如,作为生命周期单元的一部分,我们去森林公园的活动是去观察昆虫;搭建了一个小的植物花园,这个和我们的植物单元相吻合。在遵循“自然教育”这个主线时,老师是向导、共同参与者,而不是“专家”或者“知识传递者”。我们一起分享我们的探索。探索在整个下午交织发生,朋友在一起漫步,孩子们在小径上奔跑,用树叶和树枝搭建一个精灵小屋,随机游戏中混乱的快乐。自然能够容纳所有这一切。然后,在回到学校后,你可能会发现几只甲虫意外地和你一起开始了一段旅行。在课本中看一只二维的甲虫,或者是在它的栖息地、在你的手掌中观察,你更愿意哪一种方式呢?

Dear my friends,

It is very special that you can highlight this aspect to our school, as this is something very dear to my heart! As a parent and educator, NatureWize enabled me to work with other families to bring healthy, outdoor physical activity and nature exploration to our kids. We started it as an escape from the city, but it turned into one joyful experience after another, as the children played openly and freely and we found curiosity after curiosity upon footpaths, leaves, tree bark, and rocks. It was a parent’s and educator’s delight!

Since then I explored ways to make this “weekend activity” a more regular experience for young people. Indeed, according to the Children and Nature Network, started by writer Richard Louv of Last Child in the Woods, and its litany of research citations, more frequent exposure to nature improves emotional and physical health, instills an environmental protection ethic, and exposes students to a living, breathing “outdoor classroom”. I have spent quite some time in four walled classrooms. They are stuffy, many times with artificial lighting, and the educational experiences are constrained by textbooks and schedules. In many ways, Xingfu Xuetang realizes this. Indeed, the academy’s mission includes a strong component to promote healthy physical and emotional health, including spending more time outdoors. What I love is that, by integrating nature education into a regular school schedule, our school can pioneer a healthier, more inquiry-based and authentic learning approach for more of our youth!

In addition to balancing societal academic expectations, i.e. students do need a whiteboard periodically for equations and we need shelter from winter and rain, Xingfu Xuetang Elementary has explicitly integrated nature activities into a weekly Friday afternoon “outdoor classroom”, what we call “Friday Explorations”. The activities are gently designed to align with content the students are learning in those indoor spaces, i.e. as part of our life cycles unit, our last trip to Forest Park looked for insects in particular, and we created a small vegetable garden to align with our unit on plants. However, in keeping in tune with the theme “nature education”, the teachers are guides and co-participators in the activities, not the “experts” or “knowledge transferers”. We share our discoveries together. Discoveries are made throughout the afternoon, interspersed with friends strolling together, darting of children up the trail, the building of fairy homes out of sticks and leaves, and the chaotic joy of spontaneous games. Nature has the space for all of that. And then, once back in the classroom, you might find a stray beetle or two that accidentally journeyed back with us. Which would you prefer, to carry a beetle in your palm (or safely watch, for the squeamish ones) that you witnessed in its habitat, or to see a two-dimensional picture in a textbook?

幸福学堂 | 小学部 | 项目负责人:Katie Scott(姜悦溪)