A focus on Nature
At Pioneer Springs, students live their learning, and what better way to do that than to be immersed in the most stimulating, organic, and inspiring learning environment there is: the natural world that surrounds us.
Cultivating a meaningful, lifelong connection to the natural world grounds students, encourages the kind of healthy risk-taking that results in meaningful learning, and allows kids an opportunity to discover that the wide world outside is not a place to be afraid of, but a place of discovery and growth.
In a world full of social networks, cell phones, game consoles and computers, today’s children are increasingly disconnected and isolated from the natural world. This disconnect has been termed by scholars as “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Studies have shown environmental education has both physical and educational benefits. By integrating nature, student engagement and achievement increases, while also reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Environmental education also encourages physical activity and promotes emotional and physical well-being.
Most importantly, capturing student interest in the natural world fosters a lifelong love of learning. This focus in nature encompasses the entire school with cross-curriculum explorations of nature and meets the North Carolina Essential Standards for science. With an encompassing theme for each trimester, each grade explores a unique path of the theme. At the end of each trimester, the students celebrate their journey with their school community.
Pioneer Springs’ teachers find that learning opportunities arise spontaneously in nature. By embracing these opportunities when and where we find them, we can provide students with truly memorable, authentic, and lasting educational experiences. Being outside engages all of our senses, bringing our whole being into the learning process and allowing learning to take place on many different levels. Students are present, mindful, and focused.
Pioneer Springs is a member of both the Green Schools Network and Green Schools Alliance. In addition we have also partnered with the following organizations: NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC State Cooperative Extension Service, UNCC Geography Department, Carolina Raptor Center, Project Learning Tree, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (National Archery In the Schools Program), Green Teacher Network, and the North Carolina Arboretum Society.
"By combining a solid core curriculum with a focus on the natural environment, students’ senses are engaged on every level, compelling them to observe, discover, and problem solve, all foundational skills necessary to excel under new accountability standards, and in their future careers."