by Thad Falkner, Head of School and Mara Goldschmidt, Third Grade Teacher
When looking at your child’s experience at school, it’s exciting to know both what they are learning and how they are learning it. At The Wilson School, we believe in approaching education from every angle, both inside and outside the classroom. That means applying subject area knowledge in new contexts, collaborating, and even exploring the physical world outside. It’s not just fun for our students (and staff!); it really does have a deep impact on their learning and comprehension of the world around them.
Third-grade was delighted to spend an entire school day in Forest Park. As the day began, the sky was overcast, and the air was chilly. Nevertheless, students enjoyed a walk through the Steinberg Savanna, successfully identifying several trees with the help of a dichotomous key, observing the many types of plants and animals, and crossing a Victorian footbridge from the 1880s. Then, they worked in small groups to create poetry that captured their nature observations and incorporated at least three different poetry techniques that had previously been presented in class.
After the poetry, students learned about water quality and management from Mr. Theo, a naturalist and Forest Park employee. They enjoyed hands-on experiences that allowed them to explore air and water temperature, water depth, trophic content (clarity), and macro aquatic wildlife. Furthermore, they learned that the waterways in Forest Park are designed to mimic the underground waterways of the past, namely the River Des Peres.
Other highlights from the day included lunch in the visitor’s center, outdoor P.E. in the park with Ms. Simpson, recess on a playground, Silent (and peaceful) reading time at Deer Lake’s Council Circle, and our monthly nature quest with our journals, exploring the four habitats at the the Deer Lake area: savanna, wetland, prairie, and lake. We feel very fortunate that we were able to learn about so many subjects in this beautiful outdoor classroom. When it was time to return, many students expressed surprise that the day was over and exclaimed they wished they could stay longer. We felt the same! It was rewarding to provide our students with this experience and to see them deeply engaged in it.
Wilson in the News