Fall Festival Kickstarts Education Classes


In the outdoor classroom area, preschoolers watch their toy cars barrel down a DIYracetrack. Others sit at tables completing crafts and activities created by Morris Hill students, who just had the opportunity to lead their first circle time. There’s laughter, singing, and dancing– a little bit of normalcy for a class that has not been immune to the limitations of COVID. 

Outdoor education days offer a new entrance into the world of education for students across the district. This immersive program is fittingly named the Bear and Blocks of Learning. Most recently, the Morris Hills Exploring Early Childhood and Intro to Education classes hosted a Fall Festival on October 21st and 22nd.

In previous years, preschoolers arrived at the school for educational days. These classes happened Monday through Thursday. The student teachers would be split into four groups: planning, preparing, observing, and teaching. These phases of work would occur over multiple blocks, with only four students teaching at a time. 

But times have changed; and so has the class.

Outdoor Education Days began this year, a new effort to work around pandemic restrictions. Unlike the class’s structure prior to COVID, planning and preparation usually happen within one block. Students do not prepare in groups, but rather individually. Although teaching time is limited, the benefit is that every student has a role in teaching– it’s all-hands-on deck. The climate of being outdoors brings the extra challenge of a parking lot and lots of space to roam. While it may not be typical of the course, it’s a step in the right direction, one that emphasizes shared leadership.

“We want to have a practical, hands-on experience for high school students,” shared Mrs. Godleski, the Hills Exploring Childhood teacher. “It offers a point of reference so we can refer back to those memories of interacting with the kids in class.”

Masked and ready to learn, preschoolers arrived with their parents to take part in lesson plans led solely by the students, and guided by Mrs. Godleski and Mrs. Sabo.The activities were fall-themed, including making witch and vampire paper bag puppets, a pumpkin counting activity, ghost bowling, and so many more. High schoolers faced challenges, and learned what teaching truly entails.

Mrs. Godleski expounded on these interactions, stating, “It’s what makes learning come to life– taking the initiative and understanding what really works in a classroom.”

The Fall Festival was the first educational day of the Bear and Blocks of Learning and the teachers and students alike agree it was overall a success. That’s what one can call learning around the learning curve.