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Wednesday Walks Bring Learning to Life

Room 8 students on their Wednesday walk near the Seine

Every Wednesday, the students of Room 8 at Archwood School embark on a journey of discovery and learning that takes them beyond the classroom walls. These Wednesday Walks are quickly becoming a beloved tradition, filled with exploration, education, and enthusiasm. 

"I started doing Wednesday Walks back in October 2020," said Jessica Stafford, teacher of Room 8. "The gym was my classroom (good old COVID days), and I was looking to get outside more often, both to break up the days and to see the sun, as there are no windows in the gym. I was inspired by a professional development session and thought that this was a small, consistent way to get outdoors more. We ended up spending a fair amount of time outside that school year!" 

The routine is simple but powerful. First thing every Wednesday morning, Room 8 heads out for their weekly walk unless the weather is severe. 

“I find this consistency is helpful for the students and myself, to know that it’s expected every Wednesday,” said Jessica.  

The first few walks of the year include discussions around expectations and safety before walking, and they are short in length. Once these routines of stopping on street corners, waiting for others to catch up, and crossing Archibald are practiced, the routes get longer and further. 

“We are very lucky at Archwood to have the Seine River a short walk away, which the kids are always eager to visit. It is our favourite destination,” said Jessica. 

These walks are about more than just exercise. Building community outside of the classroom walls is invaluable. Jessica tries to bring topics she is passionate about —being outside, joyful movement, taking care of your health—and practice them with her students.  

“I also love the surprise treasures of Wednesday Walks—deer sightings along the river, pinecones and funky-shaped rocks, meaningful conversations with pals and peers—it’s the best,” said Jessica. “I also find it interesting to see the students’ perspective on it being 'too cold' or 'walking is boring' often changes throughout the course of a year with Wednesday Walks. We all learn to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy our surroundings a little more." 

Some of Room 8’s highlights from the walks include:  

  • Walking and talking with friends  
  • Discovering new places in the neighbourhood  
  • Seeing the beautiful nature outside  
  • Skipping rocks on the river  
  • Feel calm before we start doing our work in class 

Curriculum connections naturally weave into these outdoor excursions. “In terms of curriculum connections, it varies from year to year, or what we are learning about,” said Jessica. “Some years I’ve started with a question posted before each walk that we discuss as we walk or upon our return, and sometimes we make lists and discuss observations related to curriculum. It’s easy to bring curriculum connections into our walks, whether science, math, health, ELA, art, or social studies." 

For those looking to start a similar initiative, the advice is straightforward. "Start small and build from there,” said Jessica. “Wednesday Walks remind me that time outside of the classroom is never 'lost'. This time of connection, fresh air, and fun is essential for all of us." 

Room 8 students standing in front of the Seine on their Wednesday Walk