issues and experts

Educator’s ‘walking classrooms’ set the pace for global honour

November 23, 2020

Sometimes the best classrooms have no walls. Gillian Judson’s Walking Curriculum is not only providing outdoor learning, but is a welcome change for students in the midst of a pandemic.

"Research indicates that there are benefits of spending time outside for mental health and feelings of well-being,” says Judson. “The Walking Curriculum enables these health benefits while offering powerful learning opportunities.”

Used by schools across the region and beyond, the SFU educator’s resource has been recognized as one of the world’s most inspiring innovations by education non-profit HundrEd.

The recognition appears in HundrED’s fourth annual Global Collection’s Creativity Spotlight. HundrED’s Global Collection highlights 100 of the most impactful innovations in K-12 education from around the world.

The Walking Curriculum is based on principles of Imaginative Ecological Education, such as cultivating students’ understanding of the connectedness of all life, concern for the Earth and awareness of Place.

Judson estimates that 100,000 teachers and students worldwide are exploring Walking Curriculum practices, which create a positive impact and help students develop an appreciation for the natural world.

She is currently working with B.C.’s Network of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (NOIIE) to create a resource that interconnects Walking Curriculum practices and First Nations Principles of Learning.

The 60 walks described in The Walking Curriculum encourage students to explore the environment, view the world from a different perspective, seek evidence of human-nature relationships, and identify patterns or locate natural/human systems through action that blends imagination and Place-based learning.

The Walking Curriculum aims to increase students' feelings of connecting with ‘place’ through using imagination and engaging the body. “With so much screen time these days, learning outdoors through movement and exploration can invigorate and inspire learners,” says Judson.

“My hope is that post-pandemic, educators will continue to explore what the natural world can teach. We have to learn to pay attention and work to expand understanding of ‘school’ beyond walls and desks and into natural and cultural communities."


GILLIAN JUDSON, assistant professor, Faculty of Education 

*Judson is available for interviews or to connect reporters with teachers who are using The Walking Curriculum 


MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 |


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