On November 4th, Kingsway Park Public School collaborated with the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) to enrich student learning through open-air, nature-based teaching in the safe setting of school property. The programming was offered by an LRCA Education Coordinator to Mrs. Susan Lieske’s grade 1 class. The teaching focused on ecology and conservation, which the students interestingly already knew a lot about. When asked who had been to Hazelwood Lake, a dozen student hands shot up. When asked who had been to the Cascades, the class burst into enthusiastic chat of past hiking expeditions. It was incredible that nature conservation was already a familiar topic to these young children.
The students were taught how mice escape the gaze of owls, and had a tremendous time enacting that particular scenario. When briefed on the concept of the Nature Contract, the students learned to take only pictures, leave only footprints: not leave garbage in nature, not pick anything living, and watch wildlife from a respectful distance. One of the students suggested an addition to the Nature Contract, that of offering to help an animal if it is hurt. A perfect example of a child’s instinctive compassion and affection towards nature.