I always hear the excited voices first. Then they make their way closer, coming up from some trail in the wooded acreage near my home. Today Muddy Sneakers' WNC Program Director Nikki Jones, led the student journey of discovery in "the joy of learning outside."
"Muddy Sneakers' award-winning school-year program delivers high-quality outdoor science education to fifth-grade public school students. Established in Brevard in 2007, the organization is growing with the goal of serving students across North Carolina." The Learning Center! Charter School was fortunate to be one of the first schools in far western region of the state to participate in this outdoor adventure that "utilizes nearby protected lands while supplementing science instruction." See www.muddysneakers.org for more information on the nature-rich services provided.
Outdoor education and all the fresh air and social emotional benefits that come with it are held in high regard in our school culture. The school's designated woods and trails area, T.O.L.C, The Outdoor Learning Center, provides an endless supply of nature and discovery activities and creative structure building, along with history, social studies, and science lessons.
Muddy Sneakers offered our school a flexible and supportive partnership during the challenges of COVID, as they reached out to sixth graders who had missed the Muddy Sneakers' 5th grade experience in spring 2020.
I watched with sheer pleasure as this group of line-backer-build students gingerly made their way around an area thick with the spring growth of Trillium. Discovery was thick in the mountain morning air as Jones explained the native species and the environment in which it grew.
Learning Center classrooms are not defined by walls. The great outdoors and the added value of Community of Learners' resources such as Muddy Sneakers, make learning possible in diverse settings, any where, any time.