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Active Learning

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WSVN -- Where can you pet a pig or get up close and personal with a blue-tongued skink, at school of course

It's all part of a new program at Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay called No Child Left Inside.

Doug Heetderks: "Let's get these kids outside, let's have them free play, have exploration time, have them discovering the world and get along with each other."

Science teacher Doug Heetderks is the mastermind behind the push to get students out of the classroom and into learning about nature and the environment.

First stop, the discovery barn where a new animal is brought in every month.

Right now, Pinky the pig is the star of the show students get to hold and feed her. Doug says it's all about hands-on learning last month the kids studied Emus.

Doug Heetderks: "We talked about egg size, we had Emu eggs that we could crack and see how much yolk was in them and egg white."

6-year-old Isabella loves learning about the animals.

Isabella De Paula: "He teaches some animals can be wild and some animals can be not wild."

Next stop, world wonder a giant chiki hut where students gather to learn about the world around them.

Doug Heetderks: "I do one earth science, one physical science, one life science, and then one freebie theme a year."

Today Doug is teaching students how to make a sea urchin out of a banana peel. Not your usual classroom lesson.

Doug Heetderks: "There's no paperwork, so we don't use pencils and papers."

And last but not least is the playspot an outdoor area where kids are encouraged to be active, discover and explore!

Doug Heetderks: "They can climb on the tubes, they can be a superhero, they can put on a play, they can climb through the bamboo forest and look for pandas."

6-year-old Peter says being outside is just more fun.

Peter Frometa: "Because we can play and inside we just have to work."

Parents agree this type of active learning works.

Doug Heetderks: "So this gives them a very safe place to play, to encourage the play, but they're learning so much and they don't know it, that's the best part."

Lynn Martinez: "And unlike conventional playgrounds the playspot was created without any plastic structures."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Westminster Christian Schoolwww.wcsmiami.org

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