UBC Graduate Research

Nature Engaged : An Interactive Approach to Nature-Based Learning Pitoscia, Sarah


During the Covid Pandemic, elementary schools experienced a revival of outdoor learning. Educators took the opportunity to curate outdoor learning environments within the existing fabric of elementary schools. However, in their efforts to do so, a clear divide between learning and the outdoors became evident within existing school design and teaching pedagogy. The lack of engagement with nature has had detrimental impacts on the cognitive, physical, and social development of school-aged children. A new approach to learning can improve the health and well-being of students. We can expand beyond the existing walled boundary, to instead approach the entire school site to form a gradient of learning environments from indoors to out. The threshold between these conditions forms dynamic spaces that become the connection piece to the outdoors. Nature can be used as a method of space-making to form transitionary zones that encourage engagement with the landscape. The creation of these spaces can be directly tied into learning objectives where children become active participants in the construction, and maintenance of their learning environments.

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