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West Side Montessori moves learning outdoors

West Side Montessori set up tents on campus to facilitate outdoor classes.
West Side Montessori set up tents on campus to facilitate outdoor classes.(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Outdoor learning has always been part of the Montessori curriculum but West Side Montessori is expanding the idea this year. Students are back in class five days a week, in-person. Head of School, Jenn Schoepf, says that was the goal as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

With restrictions inside the classroom, the school decided to take advantage of the expansive campuses and setup large tents outside. Each teacher has a tent, giving them the option to move courses outdoors. From science to math many lessons are being taught in the elements.

In addition to the usual coursework, West Side Montessori started a new Outdoor Education program this year. It gives students another opportunity to get outside and connect with nature. Cody Murnen, is the coordinator of the outdoor education program. He says with 37.5 acres of land on the Toledo campus, there is plenty of room to roam and teach children about Northwest Ohio’s ecosystem.

“We have tons of trails and the kids have a chance to get outside and especially during COVID, they have had a lot of fun being on the trails and distanced in their own way in the woods,” says Murnen.

From outdoor playgrounds, to recess and physical education, there is plenty of outdoor activity and now bringing the books outside is part of the norm, at least for now.

“We are hoping it will stay beautiful in Toledo all year round but we know that that’s probably not the case so we are going to be outside as much as we can,” says Schoepf.

West Side Montessori has a campus in Toledo and Perrysburg.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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