This morning in the pouring rain, an Upper Elementary student asked me about recess. He said, "So, with this rain, are we going outside for recess?" Trepidation and hope struggled for dominance in his voice.
"Yes!" I said. "We always go outside unless it's so cold and rainy that people feel genuinely miserable."
He nodded, smiling, and turned away to talk to his friend about their recess plans. He turned back to me to ask, "What about my grammar assignment? Can I still go outside to do that?"
"Yes!" I said. "Just find a comfortable place to sit while you're working. Think about finding shelter or taking an umbrella."
The look of delight on his face - delight in the idea of going outside into the deluge to do his language arts work - was simultaneously remarkable and normal. Business as usual for these kids!
We go outside at every opportunity. We send kids outside as often as possible. We organize lessons that link us to the natural world, encourage free time in nature, and also invite the children to find ways to get out of the classroom. There is a world to explore. There is rain to feel, wet paper to deal with, mud, orange leaves and more!
This is an approach we embrace. It's part of our identity as a school. It's also part of how we nurture creativity, connection, resilience and flexibility. Unpredictable things happen outside more often than inside. Nature creates opportunity.