Why do we make
camping a part of your
"When I am outside in nature, I feel so much calmer." Student, Grade 5
Nature deficit disorder may not be a medical diagnosis, but its effects can be just as severe. Not knowing our natural world causes us to disconnect from it. We lose empathy, compassion, and care for the world which we all share and depend upon—the effects of which inch into our political, environmental, and social spheres. We've all seen the consequences of natural deficit disorder unfold over the past half-century: earth's health is in decline, addiction to technology is on the rise, and attention spans are dwindling.
We need to reconnect with nature.
Outdoor experience has been a mainstay of a Meadowridge education from the start. Through programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Week Without Walls, field trips, and other on-campus activities, students have been provided meaningful, outdoor experiences since our inauguration in 1985. In 2015, We united these and our other outdoor experiences into one comprehensive program: The Outdoor, Experiential, Ecological Education (OE3) Program.
Learn about the Outdoor, Experiential, Ecological Education Program on Thursday, October 25 at the Deputy Head and Parent Coffee.
The OE3 team provides students with meaningful, outdoor experiences that foster leadership, collaboration, resilience, compassion, and empathy. Through these tangible experiences our students connect with the natural world through their head, hands, and heart. They begin to uncover how they might live more sustainably—or, in other words, how they may learn to "live well, with others and for others..."
"Being on this WWOW trip (canoeing the Indian Arm) is awesome, all I have to worry about is paddling to a campsite, setting up my tent, making some food and hanging out with friends." Student, Grade 10
Students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 take part in the OE3 Program. In Grade 1, students plant pollinator gardens; in Grade 5, they build simple machinery; in Grade 12, they develop experiments to test in our experimental greenhouse... these are just a few of the many activities which encapsulate the OE3.
"The flowers that we are planting give food to bees and butterflies, which makes food for us." Student, Grade 1Kurt Hahn beautifully illustrates the heartbeat of our program by stating that,
"I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion."
What does OE3 look like in practice?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR James Willms is in his eight year at Meadowridge School and currently coordinates the Outdoor Experiential Ecological Education (OE3) program for the entire school. He has completed a graduate degree in Ecological Education and continuously looks for ways to collaborate with teachers; exploring with them, ways to integrate outdoor learning into their teaching practices. James is also striving to expand outdoor pursuit opportunities for students at all grade levels, knowing that these experiences provide leadership development and build empathy for the natural world. Over the past two years, James has been instructing undergraduate courses at Trinity Western University in their education program. James has travelled extensively, including teaching in Thailand for two years, and is now somewhat grounded by his rowdy boys, Trail and Albie.