Our own Betty Burley-Wolf recently sat down with Out There Outdoors Magazine to give an interview about Pioneer School and encourages students to get outside and become hand-on when it comes to our learning approach. We were thrilled with the write up and wanted to share a few of the quotes from the article. (Full link here.)
"All students at Pioneer School, a small, non-profit, private K-5 school in Spokane Valley, Washington, engage in hands-on learning, in deep, meaningful ways that go way beyond books and paper assignments."
"This type of outdoor learning is made easier at Pioneer School because of its natural playground—recently certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official National Wildlife Habitat. The school campus also includes a greenhouse, Mason bee house, climbing wall, and sandbox, as well as traditional playground equipment."
"Every academic year the school curriculum focuses on four thematic topics, alternating between science and social studies. With each topic, students learn and study concepts through classroom activities and weekly learning expeditions. Students take notes of observations and learning in their journals on these all-school “field trips,” which typically include lots of walking or hiking at exciting destinations."
"With a maximum of 60 students, the K-5 school organizes students into mixed-grade groups of 12-15 students per class. There is always a stand-alone kindergarten class, and configurations change according to current enrollment. For example, the 2018-19 school year included blended 1st-2nd grades and 4th-5th grades, and a stand-alone 3rd grade."
"Another way Pioneer School uses learning expeditions is for physical education. “We don’t have a gym, so we make our physical education focus on ‘life sports,’” Wolf says. Half-hour P.E. class sessions two days a week may focus on jump-roping or running, like the Fit for Bloomsday program in March and April. Or P.E. classes become all-day Friday events like bike-riding along the Centennial Trail in spring or ice-skating lessons in Post Falls, cross-country skiing at Mount Spokane, and downhill skiing at Schweitzer Mountain."
If you'd like to learn more about Pioneer School, visit our website our schedule a tour today.