Outdoor Learning at The Covenant School: A Visit from First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam

On Friday, November 13, the First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, visited our Birdwood Campus to see our students engaged in outdoor learning.
This year, as in many previous years, Pre-K and Kindergarten students have been extending their learning through play in our Outdoor Learning Area. Covenant has worked with Wildrock, a local nature play and discovery non-profit, to offer our teachers a day of professional development in outdoor learning and to offer our students additional opportunities to purposefully engage in the world around them. Wildrock has provided the school with a Play Lab, a structure they built filled with play items for students to explore. Covenant has long incorporated outdoor learning in the curriculum, with a "functioning" Mud Kitchen, mature pine trees, sandbox, and garden boxes.
Our young learners develop their imaginations, making a “Thanksgiving Feast” out of sticks, leaves, and mud. They build their motor skills and participate in sensory activities, rolling logs, moving rocks, and climbing in the Play Lab. Gardening happens among all grade levels at the Birdwood Campus, and through all seasons, and students help create a greenhouse to winter our plants so they can break the soil and plant things come spring. Our teachers lead Habitat Hunts where students are asked to look for naturally occurring shapes and common natural items. Most of our students can easily identify different types of local trees by their leaves!
Immersing our youngest scholars in the natural world is so important because it helps set the tone for the rest of their academic career at Covenant. Our Middle School students have an elective aptly named Out in Creation, focused on apprenticing them in ways to care for and understand the creation around them. There are beehives at our Hickory Campus that our younger students visit in second grade, two outdoor classrooms, and nature trails. So much learning happens beyond our four walls and we want our students to always be curious about the natural world, learning all that they can from it. 

Press coverage of the visit can be found at The Daily Progress or on CBS19.

The Covenant School

Birdwood Campus | Lower School | Pre-K–Grade 5 |
1000 Birdwood Road Charlottesville, VA 22903 | 434.220.7309

Hickory Campus | Middle and Upper School | Grades 6–12 | 175 Hickory Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 | 434.220.7329
Located in Charlottesville, VA, The Covenant School is a non-denominational, private, Christian day school for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, visual and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.