Outside learning is the best learning for the students, according to teacher Eric Wulff. He said, “It is the world’s largest classroom.” The students at the School of Engineering and Arts are learning different lessons outside even in the cold weather. They are learning how to count trees on the base of their shadows, how to take care of chickens, and other such lessons.
Learning outside provides freshness to the mind in addition to learning. One of the students learning outside said, “I think I learn better outside honestly.” These students are also spending time in the classrooms to learn the skills that can be used in outside learning. One group of students from the School of Engineering and Arts is raising a trout. They will release it into the stream after some time.
Jeff Ledermann, a Fish and Wildlife Outreach member of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is among the people in charge of the “No Child Left Inside” grant program. The program was introduced in Minnesota in 2019 to bring kids outside for learning purposes. Ledermann said, “Nine hours a day on their screens, and only 30 minutes a week outdoors doing unstructured playtime so that’s a big change in the last few decades.”
The schools can apply for funds to conduct outdoor activities for the students under this grant program. The grants have been awarded in the first round this winter. The Department of Natural Resources will provide larger grants this spring to the schools. The applications for winter grants have been closed by the department. Jamie Bekker-Finn, the Minnesota State Representative, said, “We got the idea from other states that started the No Child Left Inside type of grant program.”
According to Bekker-Finn, Minnesota’s No Child Left Inside grant program is unique as compared to other states. Bekker-Finn played a crucial role in bringing this program to Minnesota. The schools of Minnesota have been engaging kids in several outdoor activities including fishing, cooking, learning, and many more by using these grants.