We have had quite the year! Our afterschool program has worked hard to incorporate The Walking Classroom into our weekly routine. It’s been a very engaging experience for our students. Overall there was a general appreciation for more opportunities for outdoor learning and discussion-based activities. The Walking Classroom paired well with the students’ needs to be outside and socialize with one another. We are very grateful for the opportunity to give this unique program a try.
Thanks to The Walking Classroom, students were able to take the classroom outside! They could explore new concepts while listening to perfectly crafted kid-friendly podcasts and engaging in discussions with their peers. This was great considering the strict COVID-19 protocols in place for the school year and our area’s extremely high case rate.
We wanted to focus on strategic ways we could incorporate learning opportunities that leveraged student motivation to socialize and reconnect with their peers and program staff. There was a general appreciation from students for more opportunities for outdoor learning and discussion-based activities. The students reported that utilizing the Walk-its and accessing the content was easy. They also loved having access to so many different podcasts with a range of subjects.
One challenge we have faced this year is adhering to our strict COVID-19 procedures. We have had to figure out ways the students could walk as a class but not get tired of the same route. This ended up being even harder due to restrictions we had on taking walks outside of our campus. We got creative, utilizing many spaces on campus including our turf field, blacktop, garden, and upper and lower access pathways to the building. Since we are a two-story campus, on rainy days allowing the class to take a walk in the building was an option we utilized.
In the Youth Enrichment Program, it is important to us to support youth voice and choice. Because of this, student feedback was essential in identifying whether TWC would be successfully adopted into our program structure. This meant making sure students enjoyed implementation.
Recently COVID-19 restrictions have eased. Now, we have the ability and approval to take walking field trips. We have a wonderful neighborhood in the Hayward Hills and have walking access to an East Bay Regional Park. Both are great alternatives to our walks on campus. We look forward to piloting a Walking Classroom weekly walking field trip and will implement this program in our summer programming for 2022.
Thank you for the opportunity to use this program, as it has helped to enrich the lives of our students here at Fairview Elementary Youth Enrichment Program!
Afterschool Operations Supervisor