b'At cole Marie-Anne-Gaboury, hundreds of students embraced the sub-zero temperatures to construct an outdoor classroom made entirely of snow. The group spent four days of physical education classes hauling the snow with toboggans, carving it into the right shapes and sizes, and piling it high, all according toIt seemed that once you took away the their detailed plan. All grades were able to participate, with thefour walls of the gym, students were younger students piling snow to the older students pulling sleds and piling the blocks.less intimidated which increased the Once the world began to thaw in the spring, the physicallevel of participation.education department at cole George-McDowell teamed up with cole Varennes and cole Marie-Anne-Gaboury to developCHANTAL FREYNET-HAWTHORN a scavenger hunt for students and their families. An orientationTeacher at Collge Bliveaumap in St. Vital Park uncovered hidden posters, each of which had a secret code to solve a riddle. Students at Dr. D.W. Penner School used their creativity to develop an eight-hole golf course out of yoga mats, pylons, buckets and more. At cole Provencher,Indigenous ways of being includes teaching our children how to students explored their neighbourhood while participating in abuild, hunt, plant, and harvest on the land, said Shirley Ewanchuk, community cleanup. Although much of outdoor teaching andLRSD Itinerant Land Based Educator. Land-based learning is an learning focused on physical education classes, teachers inimportant step toward reconciliation and decolonization. The other specializations also took every opportunity to move theirland is our teacher, storyteller, healer, and life giver. classrooms into nature.Students at Windsor Park Collegiate received lessons and Students at Niakwa Place School planted a butterfly gardenteachings from Ewanchuk and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. as part of an inquiry project. At Frontenac School, studentsStudents learned the ways of the Buffalo, virtually visited took a scientific approach to the environment around them byAnpo Bison Ranch, prepared Indigenous foods over the fire, examining flower blossoms. Jennifer Engbrecht, music specialistconstructed a tipi and learned about Indigenous environmental at cole St. Germain, held music classes outside for the entiretyjustice and sustainability issues surrounding the food that we eat. of the school year, no matter the weather. Having music classGrade 10 students also received Indigenous teachings through outside this year was transformative for the students and myself,their geography class including a unit on Indigenous Agriculture said Engbrecht. We learned to spontaneously connect andand Food from the Land. interact with our environment and be curious about how we could make or respond to music in ways we have never done before,While bringing the classroom outdoors is certainly not a new like percussion pieces with our snowsuits, or playing the soundsconcept to teachers in LRSD, the pandemic presented the of the school yard. I was endlessly impressed by the studentsopportunity to do so more than ever. With countless benefits ability to explore new ideas and share their creativity.and possibilities, an increased focus on land-based learning and outdoor education will surely be a foundational piece of our new When kindergarten to Grade 12 schools in Winnipeg werenormal in a post-pandemic world.moved to learning from home in early May, outdoor movementCO-AUTHORED BYcontinued to be encouraged by schools and the division. LRSDShirley Ewanchuk, Itinerant Land Based Educatorpartnered with Winnipeg Trails to develop #LRSDMoves Week, an opportunity for students, staff and families across the division to get active through a number of physical and wellness activities outlined on a BINGO card. Finding ways to incorporate land-based learning, which emphasizes the opportunity for students to gain a spiritual connection with the land on which they live on, was also a priority for many schools throughout LRSD. Land-based learning uses an Indigenized and environmentally focused approach to education by first recognizing the deep, physical, mental, and spiritual connection to the land that is a part of Indigenous cultures. The 2020-2021 school year marked the first year of the Manitou Akiing Land Based Education Program. The initiative offers Indigenous teachings into Family Studies, Clothing and Design, and Foods and Nutrition classrooms as well as provides a venue to pass along teachings about Indigenous agriculture and ways of being on the land.47'