LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) — Future teachers from UW-La Crosse took their classrooms outside to learn how to educate in the outdoors.
Juniors from the college of education worked with students in Grow La Crosse gardens at Hintgen Elementary. They helped children study plants while working out their own outdoor lesson plans for the future.
“Taking them out here is just as beneficial, and it’s a great way to just explore a different kind of classroom rather than just sitting at your desk, writing down what’s on the board, and coming out here,” said Jenna Sersch, student at UW-La Crosse. “Doing hands-on activities is really important for those kids.”
On average, students only remember 10 percent of what they read, but they retain 60 to 80 percent of material learned through hands-on experiences. A garden is a perfect learning tool not only for the students at Hintgen Elementary but UW-La Crosse students as well.
“Typically, only 40% of teachers feel comfortable visiting a garden with their classroom without the guidance of our program directors,” said Jamie O’Neill, executive director of Grow La Crosse. “There are so many benefits to learning in these outdoor garden platforms.”
“Our goal is to try and teach them to teach at least one lesson in the outdoor classroom this year…,” said Heidi Masters, assistant Professor at UW-La Crosse. “Some schools don’t have gardens, so just getting them to think about outside the walls of the school and how could they use that environment to help kids learn.”
The session lasted 30 minutes. Teachers worked in pairs to educate their group of students and get them thinking in different subjects like math and science.