Gatewood scholars explore outdoors with “staycation” field trip

Gatewood scholars explore outdoors with “staycation” field trip
Two scholars sit next to a fire near Gatewood's forest.

Gatewood fifth-graders explored the outdoors in a “staycation” field trip last week promoting problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. They practiced fire making, knot tying, tent building, and fishing. They also helped remove buckthorn and built a 30 foot tunnel fort in the mud kitchen.

Rachel Vortherms, an outdoor learning support paraprofessional, helped plan the outdoor Friday with the school’s naturalist, James Ikhaml. The Experience Fridays provide students with an opportunity to learn and explore through outdoor education opportunities, but it also provides Gatewood teachers with much needed planning time. Every grade will have two or three Friday opportunities throughout the year.

Vortherms said outdoor learning often looks and sounds like play. Many of the outdoor learning opportunities encourage students to develop a curiosity mindset, ask questions, and become risk-takers.

“Kids think they are getting a free day off of school and out of the classroom, but there’s so much learning and growing happening,” she said.

Outdoor learning activities like this provide students with more focus and engagement that allow them to better remember what they learn. With hands-on experiences like the ones the fifth-graders experienced, students can directly apply what they learn into a real-world context.

Gatewood Outdoor Staycation