At Jewett Elementary School in Central Point we have been focused on a new theme, namely Exploring Our World. This blog will provide a medium for each grade level team to showcase how they are helping their students explore our world. First up, the kinder team with Forest Fridays!
What is Forest Friday?!
This year, the kindergarten team at Jewett decided to begin a outdoor experiential program called Forest Friday. We wanted to get kids outdoors, get them moving, and empower them!
Each month the kindergarten classes go to a local state park for the morning and participate in many different types of activities. In September we had students complete an egg carton scavenger hunt in which they identified many items found in the woods, and subsequently brought them back to school for nature studies, construction projects, and toy creation. In October, students did a photo scavenger hunt highlighting the flora and geography of the park. In November, students created leaf art, built shelters, completed an obstacle course, and built rock cairns.
Why Forest Friday?!
Children today face seven critical issues: lack of exercise, preoccupation with electronic media, perception of outdoors as an unsafe place to play, Isolation from and fear of nature, lack of engagement and connection to the world, reduced time for non-tested subjects and activities, and epidemic use of behavior-modifying drugs.
Forest Friday allows us to mitigate many of these issues in a fun and exciting way. During our Forest Friday excursions we are not only completing the “tasks”, we are also collaborating, problem solving, communicating effectively, thinking critically, following directions, building a healthy relationship with nature, and invoking curiosity/wonder.