WHY LEARN OUTSIDE?
At Peregrine School, we are committed to experiential learning at all levels. While our classrooms are very rich, nothing compares to the informal learning opportunities which present themselves when we go outside. Imagine we are learning shapes in the preschool. Inside we have circles, squares, and triangles, represented by any number of blocks, manipulatives, and paper models. Even the doors and windows are shapes.
PRESCHOOL IN A GARDEN SCHOOL
Peregrine preschoolers at both sites spend most of their time in yards that have been developed for naturalistic exploration. Garden beds and fruit trees integrate with climbing structures, and natural materials- such as logs, rocks, and sand- provide the props for play. Why buy a balance beam when a log provides a more interesting challenge?
As often as once a week, preschool classes make their way to the parks and natural areas near both school sites. Wagons in tow, with water bottles and snack on the way, and seats for especially tired children on the way back, classes of students spend their morning outside. Paints, books, and toys are sometimes brought along, and natural objects such as sticks, leaves, and rocks are often collected for classroom projects. These days mimic the “forest schools” of Scandinavia, which teach completely out of doors. They also enhance our indoor classrooms with objects from nature which can be used for art and for play.
ELEMENTARY CIRRICULAR GARDENS
The outdoors is an essential part of Peregrine Elementary’s project based learning. Various parts of our one-acre schoolyard are designated as different kinds of gardens, each of which is not only a nice place to play, but also a part of some curricular project.
Peregrine students of all ages take field trips on a regular basis to both agricultural and natural areas. Preschoolers go to the pumpkin patch annually and often visit the UC Student Farm, the Arboretum, or the Center for Land-Based Learning. The weekend trip to the Monterey Aquarium and tide-pooling is an annual family event for primaria classes, culminating their studies of water.