Text by Sharon Danks. Photos by Maria Durana
This post originally appeared in Green Schoolyards America’s blog, Dec 2019.
On October 1st, Green Schoolyards America collaborated with San Francisco Children & Nature to create an event focused on experiential outdoor learning in early childhood.
Ms. Humphries is the Founding Headteacher of The Coombes School in Berkshire, England, which is famous for its ecologically rich school grounds and the child-centered educational model she pioneered. Her work at Coombes over 50 years has influenced outdoor experiential education for schools around the world. We were honored to collaborate with her and treasured the experience.
The workshop was held at the Cayuga Club House in San Francisco’s Cayuga Park. It began with a tour of the park and playground—one of San Francisco’s hidden gems with unique themed gardens and whimsical wood carvings created as a labor of love by local legend Demetrio Braceros. Braceros immigrated from the Philippines and is a retired long-time SF Recreation and Parks Gardener.
The workshop with Susan Humphries followed the park tour. It included a presentation and discussion session focused on her work at Coombes and her approach to experiential outdoor learning and play on school grounds. Her slideshow included a discussion of children’s social-emotional, mental, and physical health needs in early childhood, and the ways in which preschool and early care settings can develop their outdoor environments to become nature-filled oases that broaden play opportunities and bring curriculum outside. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion with the audience.
FREE | Experiential Outdoor Learning in the Schoolyard
A compilation of 13 hands-on activities developed by Green Schoolyards America featuring the work of Susan Humphries.
This special workshop was generously funded by our partners at First 5 San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund, and was produced in collaboration with San Francisco Recreation and Parks, San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education, San Francisco Unified School District, and Children’s Council San Francisco.