Environmental Studies at Northern Lights

You may be wondering about the hour of Environmental Studies on your child’s daily schedule. At the St. Paul School of Northern Lights we are committed to getting children outside every day to explore our urban ecosystem. In our outdoor classroom, children will make connections with the natural world and with each other, strengthen relationships, wonder, create, build, discover, play, and much more. Here are some of the things children did in our first week of school:

  • Made seesaws, catapults, and ramps using logs and planks

  • Made forts and secret hideouts with sticks and boards

  • Took turns using the hose and made decisions about where to spray water

  • Made paint using water, chalk, dirt, and plants to paint on the chalkboard and decorate forts

  • Made ponds and streams in the mud, then used planks and fence panels to create bridges

  • Discovered some of the animals living in our outdoor space, including a woolly bear caterpillar, bees, butterflies, spiders, a Japanese beetle, grasshoppers, cicadas, ants, birds, worms, and squirrels

  • Made potions, mudpies, mud stew, and mud glue

  • Figured out how to make rainbows with mist from the hose and sunlight

  • Smashed rocks open to discover crystals, identified rocks and minerals, and ground rocks into fine powders

  • Used magnifying glasses to notice fine details in plants, rocks, and insects, and to try to melt rocks with the heat of the sun

  • Made musical drums using stumps and planters

  • Built a robot using pvc pipe, tubing, and duct tape

  • Organized the greenhouse and shed

  • Collected shells, rocks, sticks, and leaves, then had a collection store

  • Made a new game using a box and their imagination

  • Played castle, prison, robbers, detectives, crime scene investigators, zombie apocalypse, wizards, and superheroes

  • Ran, climbed, balanced, jumped, and moved their bodies like different animals

  • Worked cooperatively on projects

  • Solved problems together

  • Made friends

We did all of this and more in our small outdoor space! I’ll be sharing documentation of our time together with more detailed information about the rich learning that is already taking place. When children come home and say “I played outside today,” you can reflect back on this list to get a better understanding of what play looks like at Northern Lights.

School NorthernLights