What is Outdoor Learning?
Outdoor learning deepens students’ personal relationship to place through experiences that connect to locally relevant content, make observations of nature, or engage in intentional activities that benefit from being in the outdoors and nature.
Examples of what outdoor learning is:
- Calculating the number of seeds needed to correctly plant out an area of the garden.
- Making nature observations as part of a creative writing exercise.
- Participating in an out-of-school-time club that takes action to care for the local watershed such as increasing pervious surfaces and planting native species.
- Developing a better understanding of an environmental issue - such as water quality or air pollution - and then generating ideas for how to create change locally.
Examples of what outdoor learning is not:
- Eating lunch outdoors.
- Units on the rainforest or other topics not connected to local community.
- Any lesson taught outdoors that does not include connections to the surrounding location through observations of nature or using the outdoor area as context for learning.
- Review the Outdoor Learning Frequently Asked Questions.
- Check out photos from District schools of various elements of outdoor learning spaces, such as outdoor classroom structures, meeting areas, seating and more.
- Join the Sprout it Out online forum to learn more and ask questions related to Outdoor Learning efforts in the District.
- Register here to receive OSSE's Division of Health and Wellness newsletter, Thriving Together: Fostering Student and Staff Wellbeing.
- Register and learn more about Outdoor Learning Gatherings.
- Check out the OSSE School Gardens and Environmental Literacy Programs Literacy
- Outdoor Learning Resource Archive
- Department of Energy and the Environment’s (DOEE) RiverSmart Schools Program
- RiverTools Field Manual
- DC Coalition for Equitable Outdoor Education website
- Chesapeake Bay Program’s School Grounds for Learning resources on Bay Backpack
- Green Schoolyards America’s National Outdoor Learning Initiative Resource Library
- Urban Adventure Squad's Guide to Outdoor Learning
- Conservation Nation’s Educator Guide to Exploring Nature in Washington, DC