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Partners in Education: Learning about the outdoors

Posted: 4:10 PM, Sep 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-26 20:50:14-04
When is the best time to go 'leaf peeping' in your state? This map will tell you.

APPLETON (NBC 26) -- Teachers at Fox River Academy in Appleton say writing, journaling, and learning about the outdoors are essential to a child's growth.

Once a week, students spend their entire day outdoors rain or shine. Today, 7th and 8th graders are teaching 1st and 2nd graders some valuable lessons. Students are learning about team building, work ethic, and appreciating Mother Nature.

“Teaching kids to notice little things,” explains teacher Eric Vander-Loop. “Like, I think we live in a world that’s so fast paced that we don't get to experience all the wonderful beautiful things out in nature.”

It's not your typical classroom setting. Whether picking up an acorn, or studying an animal, students are learning by feeling, seeing, hearing and smelling the great outdoors.

“I like these ducks because they're soft and they're very cute,” said first grader Natalie.

“I'm really into nature, fruit animals, things that we eat, if there was no nature - no us,” said another first grader, Asher.

“It’s a lot different,” said 8th grader Oscar True. “You know, most people when they think of school they think of an old room, boring classroom with not much to it.”

“We want to try and make them better people for the environment,” said 8th grader Addison Sternhagen.

Teacher Eric Vander-Loop says not only are students learning to respect the world around them, they're learning to help one another.

“They're great role models,” said Vander-Loop. “We teach them to crossover to be good stewards of the environment and the land, how to be good classmates and to see that we're kind of a family we're a community here.”

A family many students say they couldn't be without, learning and growing everyday together with help from perhaps the best teacher of all, Mother Nature.

Fox River Academy is an environmental charter school that works on a lottery for students interested in attending. Click here to learn more.