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In today’s conversation, we speak with mentor and change maker, Chris Green.
Chris is the founder and director of the Guelph Outdoor School which is committed to supporting youth by providing opportunities to know themselves, grow rich relationships, and respond with care to a changing world.
Ten years ago when Chris started the outdoor school, he saw a possibility that not everyone saw. What if there was another way of educating our children that wasn’t just about reading, writing, and arithmetic? Something non-clinical and yet an effective method for children's health and well-being.
A true disruption in the making.
This is a conversation about raising whole, balanced, and resilient children through nature immersion. It’s about whole child education.
We talk about how allowing children access to explore our natural environment is an education that goes beyond just the mind. It provides them with a solid foundation for interacting with life both now and into the indefinite future. We talk about the possibility of shifting how we see and conduct education.
Chris and his incredible team of mentors are providing an alternative and complementary method to our current educational system.
As Chris and I speak about in this conversation, its hard to put into words exactly what the outdoor school is providing because it's outside the realm of language and falls into the world of experience. One crack as explaining it is "Learning about plants. Getting feet wet in the river. Playing games outdoors. Yelling. Climbing. Peeing in the woods. Making tea. Lighting fires. Carving. Reverence for the ideas of others in a sharing circle.”
It's sometimes quite difficult to describe experiences but what I do know is that the experiences children get from their time in nature will serve them in ways that go well beyond just their grades on a report card.
We talk about:
Learning: it doesn’t just happen at a desk with paper and pen and happens up in the head and off to one side. Learning is embodied and happens through all our senses.
Unregimented Play: and how it leads to a deeper understanding of our bodies, developing a strong sense of intuition, and hones children's natural capacity for curiosity.
Mentorship: The role of question-asking and the value of remaining curious
Attribute-Based Curriculum: focusing on “ways of being” as opposed to things that we know to help children take on many future skill sets.
Experiences: The deep inherent value of having experiences vs being told or explained to which helps to develop multi-faceted children.
About Chris Green
After 2 years of classroom teaching, Chris founded the Guelph Outdoor School in the fall of 2012, and has served as Director. A settler of Scottish and English ancestry, he loves to tell jokes and old stories and is drawn to supporting youth by providing opportunities to know themselves, grow rich relationships, and respond with care to a changing world. This comes in the form of supporting outdoor immersion and mentorship programs at GOS, as well as Rite of Passage experiences for adolescents in the out-of-doors.
He loves old beat-up things, stacking wood, and sneaking up on painted turtles.