The road to Elkus…

We did not inherit the Earth from our parents,
We are borrowing it from our children.
-Native American Proverb


Last week, I joined a third grade class on their hike to Elkus Ranch. We began the hike at the top of Skyline at the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. I travelled with them for about 2.5 miles. Gorgeous views, perfect weather for hiking, and children excited about learning outside. What could be better?

While it was a bit too hot for the banana slugs, the Manzanita trees were cool and refreshing to the touch. One student pointed it out, and asked if we could touch the “refrigerator tree.” “Why do they call it that?” I asked. His response, “Let’s touch it and find out!” Cool and smooth to the touch. Wow!

We had a chance to consider the turkey hawks flying above us on the hike. And compare the differences between hawks, vultures, and condors and…well…the elusive great grey owl.

The color and number of “Forget-Me-Nots” captivated us as we walked along. And so did the Mourning Cloak caterpillars that seemed to have made a pilgrimage to this trail en masse.

Before we knew it, lunch time was upon us and we were barely halfway there.” The kids sat on the side of the trail, unpacked their lunches and began to snack. After lunch I realized that it was time to leave the group, make my way back up the trail, and head to school.

We said our goodbyes, I began the trek back to my car and they headed toward Elkus and their three day adventure.

All of this is great, but it begs the question can learning take place outside the hallowed walls of a classroom or of a school? If so, is this type of learning of any real value to a child?

The students on this trip certainly believe learning happens everywhere. How about you?

Consider for a moment, the most powerful learning experience you have ever had.
Where did that take place? Was it in a classroom?

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May 6, 2013 · 4:44 am

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