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Reflective Sit Spots

Originally appears in the Spring 2012 issue

“The sit spot allowed me to find a new side of myself, and discover what I want to do with the rest of my life. I don’t think I would have had the chance to have this revelation if it weren’t for the sit spots. So I am incredibly thankful for those having been a part of the trip.”

– Testimony of a 17-year-old Cascades Climate Change Student from Vancouver, WA

“I am feeling good because the alpacas are chasing each other, which is the very best TV show. I am doing good at being silent so the alpacas do not notice me. I am having no [personal] struggles.”

“How many storms have you been through?” (A student’s responding to a sit spot prompt about interviewing a tree)

– From the journal of a 3rd Grader in Stanwood, WA

What do these students have in common? Both of them participated in a “sit spot.” The sit spot can be practiced equally well in a non-formal educational program or in standard school settings, and in places as remote as North Cascades National Park or as close-to-home as a local park.

A sit spot is structured time for students to be alone outside with their thoughts and feelings. During this time, students are armed with a journal and a pen. They might have colored pencils or other artistic implements. Teachers may provide a prompt to which students should reflect or respond. Alternatively, one may design the time to be more free-flowing and creative. There are various ways to arrange a sit spot, but teachers should consider their objectives and students’ needs.

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David Strich is a graduate of the M.Ed program of Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. He also has a certificate in Leadership and Nonprofit Administration from North Cascades Institute and lives in Irvine, California.