School Bulletin: Outdoor lessons everyday

School Bulletin: Outdoor lessons everyday

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- One Milwaukee school proves field trips don't always need advanced planning, a far away destination or a bus. From preschool to 8th grade, Tamarack Waldorf School students spend most mornings outside.

"We really take advantage of as many of the green spaces in Milwaukee," Kimberly Bair, a 5th grade teacher at Tamarack Waldorf School, says. "Fortunately, there are some beautiful spaces out there that the children can really explore and learn."

Bair says she is equipped with a portable chalk board, stools, clipboards and a wagon to take any lesson outdoors. And since the students have backpacks, they're ready to go, too.

The coronavirus pandemic and time spent apart reinforced the school's mission to get students outside for more than just recess. School officials also hired an environmental educator to expand the curriculum to include environmental studies and more outdoor engagement.

"The natural environment is very therapeutic," Bair says. "So many of our learners find being outdoors, even more focused and calming and grounded. There's an opportunity for movement. And for the younger child, they need to move to develop properly -- they need to be active."

This month, the students did venture a little further for their first field trip since the pandemic. To kick off the botany unit, Bair says the classes went to the Urban Ecology Center. A scavenger hunt and river walk allowed the students to find the exact fungi and plant species from their textbook.

Bair says they will continue outdoor lessons until serious winter weather gear is needed to keep little hands and feet warm, but parents send their kids prepared with coats, hats and boots.

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