Special | 26m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
This episode will explore outdoor learning opportunities and ways to combat summer learning loss.
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
Get extended access to 1600+ episodes, binge watch your favorite shows, and stream anytime - online or in the PBS app.
Already a SCETV member?
You may have an unactivated SCETV Passport member benefit. Check to see.
Special | 26m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
This episode will explore outdoor learning opportunities and ways to combat summer learning loss.
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
♪ ♪ >> Hello and welcome to Carolina Classrooms!
I'm Laura Ybarra.
♪ The school year is almost over and students are looking forward to summer break.
♪ Commonly referred to as the summer slide, there have been several studies debating the loss of learning that takes place over the summer months while students are out of the classroom.
On this episode, we're exploring outdoor learning opportunities and sharing how these resources can keep kids learning over the summer.
♪ There are 47 state parks in South Carolina, providing guests with plenty of outdoor spaces to explore.
♪ <Stacey Jensen> My job here is to introduce and allow opportunities for visitors to experience the cultural and natural resources we have available here at Sesqui Centennial State Park.
Odds are when they come out to the park, they're going to see a beautiful forest with a lot of pretty plants, a lot of trees.
They'll probably see some birds, birds, squirrels, maybe some reptiles, you know, maybe some lizards, and probably some insects depending on the time of year that they come out.
♪ Our primary program that we offer here is called Discover Carolina, and Discover Carolina field studies are actually available across the state at different state parks, but here, we offer, they're hands on field studies where students are immersed in the resource.
So the idea behind Discover Carolina is to connect our state's cultural and natural resources with our state's academic standards, and pair those two together, where students get to experience some of the amazing natural resources we have in the state, as well as some of our phenomenal cultural resources that we have, but they're meant to be hands on, and the students be immersed in the resource that they visit.
So here at Sesqui, our kindergartners do a five senses kind of nature discovery.
So again, it's all about exposure to the outdoors, experiencing nature with all of our senses, and so we do different activities using each of our senses, except for taste.
We talk about how we don't want to taste anything out here, which is another good lesson when you're out in nature, but just learning how to walk on the trail, ♪ how to be observant, one of the things we do is we give them little, I call them little rainbow chips, but they're little paint samples from the hardware store, and they have to find something that matches their color.
So it's really just getting them observing, looking and experiencing with all their senses.
We do a sound circle, where we find out what a park sounds like.
With our first graders, we focus on plants, and we also can do that with our fourth graders that we talk about the different parts of a tree, the trees that we have here at the park, and then we, I give them each a leaf from a tree, and they have to try and find the tree that their leaf belongs to, and we learned that trees have different leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, and even different names.
They get to learn that their tree has a name and what is its name.
♪ Second graders will come out to the park and they go on an insect safari.
Now we can also do that with third graders and first graders as well.
So these programs meet the state science standards, but students will come out and learn what an insect is, how they're different from other animals, and then they're tasked with trying to catch an insect on the park.
So they get some equipment, they get a net and a jar, and they have to determine whatever they catch whether it's an insect or not, and so that's what we do with the little bit older grade levels.
♪ On the surface, they're learning things that connect to their standards directly.
So, you know, first grade, they do a plant unit, and they're required to, they'll be tested on the parts of a plant, their function, what a seed needs to grow, those kinds of things.
So those are the obvious things, but coming out to the park, they're learning so much more.
We talked about just having good outdoor ethics, learning how to stay on the trail to not litter to be quiet in nature.
Some of those things that are real subtle that we don't directly address, but we're teaching them that too when they're here, and they're learning that hey, this is a state park.
It's not far from my school, and I can come here with my family, this is a place for recreation, and to come out and visit, have a picnic or even just play on the playground.
So it's also just exposure to the state parks as a resource in general for our communities.
We have tons of parent or guardian led activities available, not just here, but statewide.
One of our programs is the Junior Ranger program.
It's available at 27 of our 47 state parks, and it's all self led.
So everything's online.
Parents or guardians can go on, download the different levels, the activities, take their child out to the park and complete the activities, and all they need is a ranger just to sign off and verify what they've done, and then children can earn certificates.
So there's a little incentive there.
They get a certificate for each of the three levels, they complete, and they get prizes, and they get a Junior Ranger badge, which is kind of a big deal.
So there's a lot of incentive there, but on top of that, they can do one of our track trails.
We have self led scavenger hunt activities available here, and they can do - We even have an online game called Agents of Discovery that's available for people to do on their own.
♪ If we don't protect these places, today, they won't be here tomorrow.
So we have to protect all these resources for the future.
So the whole idea behind interpretation is in inspiration.
So we're educating, we're entertaining, but we're also trying to inspire future generations to continue to protect these natural resources, because we all know how valuable green space is to our health, our mental health, our physical health, and we need to keep these places protected for the future, for all the future generations.
♪ <Laura> For more information on these programs, check the State Parks website.
♪ ♪ The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control awards grant money to schools to create environmental conservation projects.
♪ <Amanda Ley> Champions of the Environment is a grant award program that awards kindergarten through 12th grade students and teachers in South Carolina with funding so that they can carry out their environmental education project.
We want it to empower them to be environmental stewards to raise environmental action, and understand the environmental issues that are going on in the state of South Carolina.
♪ They can win up to $2,500.
We have multiple winners every year.
The grant cycle opens in August, and closes in September, late September, and we usually announce winners by November.
A lot of the things that we look for are how is it going to educate the students about the environment?
How are they going to be involved?
Is it...student initiated?
Did the student design the project?
Or are they- How much are they going to be involved in the implementation of the project.
Another really big consideration is how the money will be used.
We prefer that the funding not be spent on t-shirts or food because we want to be on the ground, purchasing supplies that might stay with that project the entire time.
These need to be sustainable, long term projects that stay at the school, that generation after generation of school students can appreciate.
There's also a big push for community public outreach.
We want there to be very large outreach components and not just that classroom, or not just that grade level, but hopefully the whole school and even better the entire community.
There's so much fun projects.
There are so many neat, neat projects.
Usually it's something environmental.
We do want it to be reduction and waste or prevention of pollution and the air, water and land.
So we're talking, you know, air pollution, reduction projects.
We don't get quite as many of those.
We get a lot of the water and land and waste reduction pollution projects, and so that would include water quality monitoring, anything that might be polluted by stormwater runoff.
A lot of not so much recycling because DHEC does have a recycling project or excuse me, grant program, but waste reduction in terms of maybe litter pickup, litter prevention, litter pickup.
Using more sustainable resources to carry out a particular project in the environment.
So projects like that.
I hope it protects the environment - it's a long term protection of the environment.
We're thinking about this project, this program has been going on since 1993.
So that's 30 years, and so imagine kids who were in first grade when this first came out and got their first project, probably now have families, careers or their own.
It, hopefully, they're instilling any love of the environment that they got through that project to the next generation, and continuing that love of the environment and the stewardship, and the more stewards we have in the environment, the better.
Something else to consider is that these are kids that we're reaching through the school projects, but they're also not staying static with the children, it's going to the parents.
They're learning about the environment through these kids projects as they see them happening in school, and then there's also a really large outreach component with every project.
So either the entire school is made aware of the project, or sometimes the entire community is brought in on the outreach, and so it's not just with the student, the student is a great conduit and a great starting point, but it goes beyond that student.
So it's really an opportunity for the entire state, the entire country to be impacted by these kids' great experiences.
I would love for people to be able to see the faces of the students when I go visit the schools, how much fun they're having when they're outside and working on these environmental projects.
A lot of times these...students might not have an opportunity to have a garden at home, or enjoy the use of a solar panel to help make sustainable energy for their greenhouse.
These are things that kids don't get to experience every day.
They have to have special funding to be able to carry these projects out.
When I was a student, I didn't get to do these fun experiments, like these fun projects, and so these projects hopefully stay with these students throughout their life.
So the faces of the students when I see them participating in the project, and hopefully the ♪ instillness of stewardship for the environment throughout their life.
♪ <Laura> For more information on the Champions of the Environment Program, and how to apply, visit their website, SCDHEC.GOV/champions.
There are also additional resources and funding opportunities available.
♪ The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department offers fun after school and summer activities for kids.
♪ <Christy Wright> At City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, we do recreation through learning.
So typically in our after school program, our kids come in, they have the opportunity to do outside activities, whether it's on the tennis courts or the basketball courts.
We also infuse time for homework time and enrichment time to where our staff work one on one with them with homework activities.
So that typically runs from about 2:30 to 6pm daily, Monday through Friday in our after school programs.
♪ Currently, we are prepping for our City of Columbia summer camps.
This summer, we actually are going to have five sites, soft sites that will be open.
For City of Columbia summer camp.
We have Woodland Park, which is located near the Garner's Ferry area.
We will service about 50 kids this summer, and during that time, we have enrichment activities for them as well.
We also carve out time so that they can do instruction, whether it's in the area of mathematics, whether it's in the area of language arts, so we also carve out time for them to be able to do some reading, because we are aware that sometimes the summer slide tends to happen.
So we do carve out time during our daily schedule to be able to do that.
♪ Not only do we carve out time for educational learning, we also do the recreational piece, whether it be kayaking.
It may be field trips to like our local museums, maybe to the Richland County Public Library, or even just a fun day of like skating or even to the movies.
So some of our other sites that we have participating this summer, as well as Greenview Park.
That's located off of Farrow Road at 6700 David Street.
We also have Sims Park and Heathwood Park.
They're smaller parks, but they're located right near the Rosewood area.
So we do have a variety of activities, like I said that will be happening over the summer, and so the other sites that we typically have open as well.
They offer more so enrichment and like a daily summer activities for our kids, not necessarily a paid structured camp, but summer enrichment activities where we partner with Richland County Public Library, and other organizations within the area, and they come out to our facilities, and they offer activities to the kids, mostly in the communities.
Other than that, we also have, in the summertime, what's called primetime in the park, and with primetime in the park, we service ages 13 to 17.
We typically have those events on Friday nights from 7pm to 10pm, and this summer, we're actually going to do three of them.
We're going to have one each month.
We're going to have like a pool party, and this year, we're actually going to incorporate what we call glow vibe golf, which is fantastic for that particular age, because since we do it in the evening, from 7 to 10pm, they're able to actually come out and do like almost like putt putt, if you will, but it's actually going to be glow in the dark.
So that type of activity typically attracts teens to be able to come because, you know, of course on last year, what we noticed with the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, a lot of our teams needed activities to be involved in to kind of keep them off the street.
So that's where we tried to target ages 13 to 17 to give them something structured to do because of course our City of Columbia summer camps are ages five to 12.
♪ A lot of times our kids are often...involved in activities where it's mostly electronic, whether it's Tik Tok, whether it's computer games, and so what we try to do is incorporate them being able to go outdoors to enjoy activities outdoors, but do it in a way where it's structured, and allot them the opportunity to be able to do things such as team building, because a lot of times we have activities to where especially with our campers, our staff is fantastic and phenomenal with coming up with activities, whether it's things that involve like jogging or running with education so that way that they're able to be or have the opportunity, excuse me, to be able to learn while play, because learn and play is one of our big things at Parks and Recreation.
♪ For more information on these programs and services, contact Columbia Parks and Recreation.
♪ ♪ <Laura> Students at Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington District One have the option to take an outdoor learning class.
Camping, archery, fly fishing, and more fun activities take them outside the school and teach them real-world skills.
♪ <Teacher> Okay, so the first thing you're going to do is you're going to find a nice flat spot.
You're going to set your tent down, and we're going to take our two long poles and we're going to lay them across and make an X on top of our tent.
♪ >> Today we learned how to assemble and disassemble a tent, and why a tent is useful.
<Teacher> We're going to take it, these little hooks and we're just going to hook it.
♪ You'll see our tent starting to take shape ♪ >> I learned how to set up a tent quickly and efficiently with other people, and I also learned how to take down a tent and what the uses for a tent is.
♪ <Student> It keeps you warm, it gives you protection from insects and bad weather.
♪ <Students> This is...We can fit.
Yeah, this is really roomy.
♪ >> The way this school does, Outdoor Ed is we actually count it as a P.E.
credit, and so students are required to have a physical education credit, and so dance and outdoor education, they can take in place of P.E.
or they can actually take it in addition to a regular P.E.
♪ <Phillip Thomas> So, really our kind of our motto in Outdoor Ed is we teach students three things.
We teach them skills, hands on skills.
We teach them knowledge and we teach them attitude.
So that's going to be the soft skills.
<Girls> Fa la Fa la Fa La 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... (Students laugh) <Phillip Thomas> We're teaching them how to set up tents and use camping gear, how to cook on stoves.
We teach them how to use bows and arrows.
We teach them how to actually rock climb.
We teach them how to kayak and using the right paddling techniques.
♪ <Hasini Gabbita> Today we're fly fishing.
It's a different type of like fishing, where we cast with a velcro fly to try and get fish.
It's different from fishing because instead of casting a line you cast a lure.
<Phillip Thomas> We also teach them the knowledge.
So what are the things that you need to know to be able to go outdoors, how to select the right equipment, how to select the right clothing for the outdoors, integrity and how to take care of this equipment.
We're putting thousands of dollars worth of equipment in their hands, and we need them to be able to treat it with respect, and then of course, the right attitudes for going outside, the soft skills, so the communication, the collaboration, working with other students.
We teach them how to be leaders, how to be leaders of their own learning, but also how to be leaders, as well as great teammates, great classmates, in working together.
♪ <Students> Come on Jared.
Let's go Jared, 1, 2, 3 ♪ <L.A.
Rosario> In our first unit, we had to learn about leadership and how a leader acts a leader has to guide everyone else, all right, and then a leader also has to recognize when they have to stand down, like stand back for someone else to lead, and I think that is another valuable life lesson.
Sometimes you can't always be the leader, sometimes you're going to have to follow, but then sometimes you're also going to have to be the leader.
So it just depends.
♪ <Phillip Thomas> We teach them also how to be tenacious, how to persevere, the things that they learn, sometimes are not easy.
Failure comes with it, and we designed a program where it is challenging for those students where they're able to step out of their comfort zone, and in that we teach them how to have a growth mindset, how when they're met with adversity, when they're met with failure, how to show tenacity and how to keep going and how to persevere until they're successful.
♪ <Christopher Bremer> I'm also willing to take it because there were a lot of times where I was at home, and I would just get home and start playing on like an Xbox or something, but in this class, you can actually go outside without having to feel like I'm purposely having to go outside and I can go outside and have fun without it being boring.
<Brianna Albetel> I wanted to take this class to get outdoors more, because we stay inside a lot during the school day, and there's also an archery class and I enjoy doing archery and trying new things.
♪ <Kingston Dunn> I would want to take the class just to be outdoors because I love the outdoors.
If you get outside, then you can be energetic, you can go out for a run, go out for a walk, play basketball, play football with your friends, It's just an all around good place to be.
I'm an athletic person, and I love to be outdoors, so it's...pretty easy to take this class.
♪ <Hasini Gabbita> I think my favorite thing about all of this is trying new things, seeing what I like doing and learning how to work with other people.
♪ music ♪ ♪ ♪ <Stephen Harmon> This is how we cast in fly fishing.
So you'll pick up, back cast, fore cast and on the fore cast, you let go of that line on finger and we're casting it out.
Right tip towards the water.
Fish, fish, fish, fish.
So this class is really about equipping students to have the skills, the knowledge and the attitude necessary to, you know, to really, you know, enjoy life outdoors.
<Hasini Gabbita> It's different because instead of doing like, whatever they provide, this is like you learn different skills instead.
Instead of just doing what they ask you to do.
This is like different skills you can explore different like archery, for example, is completely different from bouldering.
It's like a wide variety of lifelong skills that you can use later on.
<Laura> The instructors take the eighth graders on a weekend hiking and camping trip to give the students an opportunity to put their newly learned skills to use.
♪ Join us for our next episode, Thursday May 18th at 7:30pm.
We'll be honoring educators and support staff with an end of the year celebration.
♪ ♪ Who are your heroes?
Our May episode of Carolina Classrooms will celebrate educators.
We want to know about the people who make a difference in your school, online or in person, in the classroom, in the halls or outside, from teachers, to principals, lunchroom staff, bus drivers, custodians, and more.
Tell us about your real life education heroes so we can say thank you on an all new episode of Carolina Classrooms.
♪ You can find more education stories from around the state on our website carolinaclassrooms.org.
♪ Keep in touch on our Facebook page or by email and let us know what you'd like to see on Carolina Classrooms.
♪ Whatever you decide to do this summer, have fun and be safe!
Thanks for joining us!
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪