Outdoor Education

                                     True learning takes place where there are no walls.

Science and “Kamana  for Young Children” Program developed by  https://www.wildernessawareness.org/store/products/kamana-kids-young-naturalist

The Lower School Science program is truly an interdisciplinary program that supports all areas of academic development.  This is the first year that I have been using the Kamana Guide for children.  This program was developed by the Wilderness Awareness School.  The program is divided into three different books, Awareness, Hazards and Giving Thanks.  Each week there is a different wilderness story that highlights what the area of study will be.  The main characters
are Moon Bird and Running Deer.  For example, in one of the stories the main characters realized they were lost and had to learn how to use a compass to find their way back to their home.  This is the story that introduced learning about the Four Directions and how to use a compass. The stories continue throughout the year and each story introduces a new aspect of Wilderness Awareness and/or Primitive skills.  My personal knowledge of wilderness and primitive skills allows me to enhance  this area of learning  not often found in a school setting for our  Lower School children.                            

Every Monday is Kamana Day.  We gather around the rug and read the first Kamana story.  The first story usually deals with an area of wilderness

shelter building 101

conservation, general awareness and scientific areas such as learning about species, habitats and environmental niches.  After we read the story, as a class we discuss what the overall theme of the story was.  Finally we move onto the creative writing aspect of the Kamana Program.  At the end of every story is a creative writing assignment.  Sometimes it is an open ended story or may be in
the form of a question and answer format. The children work on this portion individually. After we have snack it is time to venture out to the woods that surround the Riley campus.  We start our outdoor time in the same spot every week.  At the start of the year each child was assigned a Secret Spot.  They sit in silence for 5-7 minutes in their Secret Spots,  observing what is around them and using their senses to notice the subtle changes that occur in that short time.  Silently we regroup and quietly discuss what we heard, saw, touched or smelled while in our spots.  Each week I am amazed at this process and I am in awe of what the children discuss.  “I heard an acorn land in the stream” or “ I saw a bird land in the tree over there.”  This followed by the second Kaman story which usually introduces an awareness skill or a primitive skill such as shelter building or silent walking.  There is often a game that reinforces the awareness skills such as Seeing With Owls, Hearing with Deer Ears or more complex games where the children use a compass to play games that require them to be aware of where they are using directional terminology.

This Lower School “Science” program, much like the spring  Maple Syrup project,  combines creative writing, art, reading, math  and helps create a strong sense of community within the Lower School.