A Day in the Big Woods

On Friday our school spent the day in the Big Woods State Park for our 26th Discovery Day.  This traditional day of outdoor learning is one of the highlights of the entire year.  Each year we have a theme, this year was migration, and use it as the springboard for each of the 4 activities the students are involved in during the day.  It is also a day in which we group children in K-5 "families" so that they learn together according to their intellectual development level.  It was a bit of a chilly start, but by the afternoon the sun was out in the park, and the beginning colors of autumn were all around us.  It's a wonderful sight to see 149 students in the woods for the entire day!

Another tradition that is rolled into this day, is our annual walk to the park.  On Discovery Day grades 1-5 do the walk, but then on the last day of school the kinders join us, and walk the entire way.  This 2 mile walk, twice a year, is one of the ways that we mark our time together.  That last day walk completes a circle of time that we have spent together and is a symbol of the journey we have taken together as a school community.  At a time where more and more students spend time indoors looking at screens, we hold on tightly to traditions that involve physical activity in the outdoors for our students.  The physical activity doesn't end with the walk to the park, at the park 3 of the rotations also involve movement.  One rotation is to walk to the falls and back, another was the obstacle course and the third physical station was the Migration Headache game.  Matthew Keseley and Paula Shroyer led the walk to the falls 4 times on Friday as well as walking to the park with students.  They had gotten in just under 20,000 steps by the end of the day!  I am always surprised by how energetic our students are the entire day, even with all the movement.  Teachers assume that students get a good nights sleep after Discovery Day!

This year, we had around 45 parents/grandparents/guardians come and volunteer with Discovery Day.  It was a wonderful outpouring of support for this tradition.  It is a day that couldn't happen without many volunteers, and it was a great success.  Thank you to all of the volunteers.  
We will have many more exciting opportunities to learn this year