3 Easy Steps to Teach Outside
Designing Pop-Up Outdoor Classrooms On-Go
Outdoor Classroom design challenges can become a roadblock when contemplating the creation of your own nature based learning environment. Last week, I facilitated my STEAM Outdoors workshop for both after school providers and preschool teachers. In both workshops, I inquired about some of the greatest challenges when taking children outside. Teachers talked about the issues of weather, keeping kids together and lack of outdoor space. They also shared fears of kids running off, getting distracted and hurt. The big question was “How do we engage the children in nature based learning activities once they get them outside?”
Fear was a common theme in these workshops. Teachers shared their own fears from bugs and critters to the abundance of children’s allergies. For some teachers, taking kids outdoors feels like a liability. These are real issues that require real conversations. It is time to inspire real solutions. Teach Outside today with these 3 Easy Steps.
STEP ONE: Create an outdoor classroom kit. A simple backpack will do. It is what you put inside that makes the difference. Outdoor Classroom kits are perfect for any “Pop Up” outdoor experience. Having ready made “on the go” backpacks are especially wonderful for natural teachers who do not have access to green space. Backpacks/Kits are filled with the key ingredients for successful outdoor experiences. For details on what to put in your Outdoor Kit go Here!
STEP TWO: Choose a gathering place. This is a designated place where your group or class meets every time they go outside. Designated gathering places create outdoor rituals and offer a foundation for outdoor learning experiences. These special places act very much like the circle time area inside a classroom. Take this idea to the next step and make a “Gathering Place” sign.
STEP THREE: Add natures loose parts. A collection of shells, sticks, stones and leaves can be perfect curriculum tools for that asphalt playground. Paint rocks with numbers, letters, and/or anything that relates to your theme. Explore the possibilities with children. You will be amazed!
As natural teachers we all may feel uneasy sometimes about taking a group of children outside to learn. The key ingredient is to plan, plan, plan. Now, I would love to hear from you. Did any of these ideas work for you? Let us know how you deal with your Outdoor Classroom design challenges and fears.
Extra Credit: Comment below and share 3 Outdoor Classroom design challenges you are struggling with. You never know, you might find another creative idea and design solution right here.
Want to learn more? Sign up for Teaching in the Dirt: Designing Outdoor Classrooms E-Course HERE!