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It makes kids squeal with delight and without fail, run as fast as they can into the wide open arms of possibility.  (You have to see a group of first graders tear out into the school yard the second rings, to truly understand what I’m talking about here.)

What is it about the great outdoors?

It wasn’t until halfway through my maternity leave, that I truly started giving this some thought.  At the beginning, it was simply the walk down to the end of the driveway, and soon after, to the end of the block, and eventually to around the neighbourhood. My daily sojourn outside was the main event – one I looked forward to each and everyday.  It allowed me to breathe a little deeper, make my racing mind a little calmer, and my spirit a little happier.  A reset button for my soul, even; as if Mother Nature, herself had given me a sweet hug and sent me on my way to appreciate all that was in the rest of my day.


That being said, I was never really the outdoorsy type.  It wasn’t until having a baby and seeing the world outside our window, through her eyes, that really made me stop and take notice.  The way she’d tilt her head way up towards the sky in my carrier, or point at a squirrel leaping clumsily from a branch, or run her itty bitty fingers over a flower petal – it all suddenly made my heart gush.

The effect the outdoors has on my students is not lost upon me either. Windblown hair and flushed cheeks do wonders for staying focused and being engaged.  A quick run around the school or walk to find a favourite leaf, have been some of my tried and true tricks to keeping their minds fresh and their bodies energized.  Surely, I had always known this, right?  I can now truly appreciate how students mucking about in the mud, picking the perfect pumpkin, singing songs on hayrides and getting lost in a corn maze is invaluable learning that can’t possibly come out of a textbook.

It’s more than just stopping to smell the roses, it’s slowing down to notice them in the first place.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


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