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Nebraska Project WILD

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Outdoor Classrooms

What are outdoor classrooms.
Outdoor classrooms vary greatly in their look and location. Although most outdoor classrooms are located at schools, they can also be at nature centers, local parks, and daycare facilities. They can be as simple as a grove of trees intermixed with musical instruments and natural building blocks. Or, they can be very intricate with dedicated learning areas – music & dance area, sand or digging area, water area, fort building area, etc. Look for more detail about designing your outdoor classroom soon!

The need for outdoor classrooms.
Much work has been done to educate both teachers and the general public of the benefits of using outdoor classrooms. Not only do outdoor classrooms offer students a more active learning environment, but they also help students integrate their learning through several subjects and facilitate critical thinking skills.

Designing & Planning Your Outdoor Classroom
The initial thought of degisning an outdoor classroom can be daunting. But, with a little time and though, the process is actually relatively simple and fun.
Check out "Creating an Outdoor Classroom" PowerPoint and "Outdoor Classroom Elements" document to help you get started with the process.

Using Your Outdoor Classroom.
Download “Using Nature to Meet State Standards
All too often, schools spend precious time and dollars creating and installing outdoor classrooms just to have teachers apprehensive about actually using the outdoor classroom. The fact is that using an outdoor classroom to meet state education standards is a new concept for most teachers. The thought of developing an entirely new curriculum to engage children in nature and the outdoors while still teaching the same topics is daunting.

The Nebraska Project WILD program has developed a series of activities to help teachers make this transition. In this document (“Using Nature to Meet State Standards”), educators will find at least one SCIENCE, MATH, SOCIAL STUDIES, and LANGUAGE ARTS activity for each grade – preK through 5th.

Please feel free to download the guide and share with teachers at your school, parents, daycare providers or anyone dedicated to helping our children learn better... learn outside.

To learn more about effectively using an outdoor classroom, check-out the “Using an Outdoor Classroom Effectively” PowerPoint.

Outdoor Classroom Book Bags
With outdoor classrooms come amazing opportunities to engage children in learning of all subjects – science, math, social studies and reading. The simple act of reading outside can have profound impacts. While meeting learning objectives and state educational standards, you are also providing students an opportunity to render the physical and mental health benefits of spending time outside. A true win-win.

In this document ("Outdoor Classroom Book Bags") you will find a list of books that are grade specific. Each grade has at least 15 books that will help supplement their science curriculum while meeting language arts standards.

Try putting together a bag for each grade level. Then, teachers can grab the bag and head outside with their students. This is a perfect opportunity for group or silent reading time… outside.

For more information, please contact:
Lindsay Rogers
Nebraska Project WILD State Coordinator
(402) 471-5581

updated - Nov. 30, 2012


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