In a place where “muddy buddies” is a common turn of phrase, it won’t surprise you that Mr. Willms remembers just three days when recess was kept inside.
Outdoor recess is an important part of our school, and our students learn to come prepared for rain, shine or snow. “We go outside because it’s good for us,” Outdoor, Experiential, Ecological Education (OE3) Coordinator Mr. James Willms nods, “it’s where we play, learn and explore.” This belief has shaped the culture and curriculum of our school, and it has shaped our students, too.
Through education and through experience, students’ awareness, preparedness, and outdoor skill grow steadily over time. Daily outdoor recess and classes and clubs teach students to watch the weather and come prepared, tasks which are now much easier and more visible thanks to a new, on-campus resource – a weather station! With the closest weather station about 12-kilometres away (over by the Pitt Meadows Airport), Mr. Willms wasn’t satisfied with the publicly available local forecasts.
“We’re in an entirely different weather system,” he explains, “we’re right next to the mountains and our winds are different.” With a station installed on campus, forecasts and predictions have now become more reliable and accurate, which helps keep our community informed, prepared and safe. With hourly updates shared all around the school, temperatures and wind speeds and more are available for everyone to see.
Of course, in a school like ours this new resource has garnered much attention and our teachers have big plans beyond safety and awareness in the works. With daily and monthly and annual totals collected, whole sets of new data and information will inform unique projects, self-directed learning, and inquiry. “Is temperature rising or staying the same? Is precipitation condensed or more gradual? Are weather systems becoming more intense?” Mr. Willms rattles off a few examples, but is excited to see what other ideas our students and teachers have in store.