Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Manitoba Nature Summit 2016

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Manitoba Nature Summit. This is a weekend gathering that happens every other year and this was my first time attending.

On Friday morning I drove out to Camp Manitou to meet up with 4 teachers from Brooklands School and many other teachers, administrators, and Early Childhood educators from across Canada.

Our name tags for the weekend.
We all met with the purpose of learning how to better connect children with nature. The theme of the weekend was "Get Outside."

from the MB Nature Summit Instagram account

On Friday I attended two workshops. The first was Artistry of the Forest where we learned a brief history of nature art and then were given time to create our own art in the forest. The five of us St. James teachers worked together to create this piece.

We also walked around to see what everyone else created. It was so interesting to see how people had used different spaces and materials to create art that had a meaning and purpose.

My second workshop was on Risk as a Teacher. In this workshop we reflected on risky things we had done in our lives and how that made us feel, what the value was in those experiences, and we discussed the value in risk for our students. We also spent time talking about liability and how to mitigate as much risk as possible by creating solid plans, doing site visits, including experts in your planning, and having backup plans and procedures for when something does go wrong.

Jeff Reading
I really loved that the presenter made the workshop apply to people taking high school students or adult on weekend adventures, all the way to taking a group of kindergarten students to the park to collect leaves.

At the end of the day we got time to play! We rock climbed, sailed across a zip line, shot arrows at the archery range, and played lawn games.

On Saturday I attended a workshop on environmental games. I loved that all of the games were nature based and focused on cooperation and team building. I was way too busy playing to take any photos.

The last workshop of the weekend was on Planning with the Seasons. The presenter was a university friend of mine who is now the principal of Brant Argyle school. Sarah gave us lots of ideas for slowing down our practice and really focusing on the rhythm and feeling of the seasons. The work she does with her students is truly inspiring!

Thank you so much to The Manitoba Nature Summit for putting this on and to my students for being awesome while I was gone. Coming back from the weekend I felt exhausted and totally energized at the same time! Can't wait to try out all of my ideas!

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