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Outdoor Learning Resources


What is Outdoor Learning?

Outdoor learning is a process that deepens students’ personal relationship to place through experiences that connect to locally relevant content or engage them 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 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 protect 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:

  • Recess.
  • 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.

DC Outdoor Learning Data Visualization Tools

  • Outdoor Learning ArcGIS Map intends to help visualize where outdoor learning is taking place in the District, types of outdoor learning features that may be present in schools, and environmental education partners.
    Tutorial | Instructions
  • Outdoor Learning Dashboard uses self-reported data collected in 2022 to visualize outdoor learning and environmental education experiences in public and public charter schools in the District. (coming soon!)

Getting Started

Additional Information