Elementary school outdoor education lesson planning can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. When done correctly, outdoor learning can offer children many clear benefits both in the classroom and out. In this blog post, we will explore what outdoor learning is, what an outdoor classroom should have, and how to create outdoor lesson plans that engage your students!
What should an outdoor classroom have?
There are many different ways to set up an outdoor classroom, but there are a few key elements that all outdoor classrooms should have:
- A variety of materials for children to explore, including both natural and man-made materials.
- Opportunities for gross motor play, such as climbing, balancing, and running.
- Shade from the sun
What kind of lesson plans should we do?
Now that you have an outdoor classroom set up, it’s time to start planning lessons! There are a few things to keep in mind when creating outdoor lesson plans. First, consider the age group of your students. What activities will they be able to do? Second, think about the weather. Will the lesson plan need to be adjusted based on the temperature or precipitation? And finally, what is the objective of the lesson? Once you have these factors in mind, you can start planning engaging outdoor lessons that your students will love!
What can you do in an outdoor elementary classroom?
- Outdoor scavenger hunt
- Texture Hunt
- Looking for different types of earth, soil, sand, rocks, etc
- Work on parts of grammar, prepositions/nouns/verbs
- Plant Identification
- Learning how to use a map and compass
- And so much more!
Structured vs. Unstructured Outdoor Learning Experiences
There are two main types of outdoor learning experiences: structured and unstructured. Structured outdoor learning experiences are those that are planned in advance by the teacher and have specific objectives. Unstructured outdoor learning experiences, on the other hand, are open-ended and allow children to explore and discover on their own.
Both types of outdoor learning experiences have their own benefits. Structured outdoor learning experiences can help children learn specific skills or knowledge, while unstructured outdoor learning experiences can encourage creativity and imagination. It’s important to offer both types of experiences in order to give students a well-rounded education. Outdoor Science Schools and Camps like California’s own Pali Institute offer a great variety of unstructured and structured outdoor learning opportunities.
Involve the Community
One of the best ways to get parents and community members involved in outdoor education is to start gardening with your students. Gardening is a great way to get everyone involved in the outdoor classroom. They can help with lesson planning, garden maintenance, and even fundraise for new materials.
There are many benefits to starting a garden. First, it gets everyone involved in the outdoor classroom. Second, it helps with lesson planning. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!