When we think about school, we often picture rows of desks and students buried in their notebooks. But what if students could learn about nature straight from nature itself?
Enter outdoor education.
Outdoor education is education about the outdoors, in the outdoors. Students learn about a range of topics, from orienteering to marine biology, all while spending time in nature.
Outdoor education is life-changing for students. Here are five reasons why we believe that—and why outdoor education is more important now than ever before.
1. Grow Environmental Awareness
The next generation of students is facing an ever-mounting environmental crisis. Sustainability is only going to get more important in the coming years and our students need to be prepared for that future.
Outdoor education allows students the opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the planet. As students spend time outdoors, they will learn about the environment local to them and how they can take action to protect it—-and enjoy it.
For example, students in Massachusetts learn about animals and plants native to New England and how to identify them. When students return home, they will feel empowered to explore that very same nature in their backyard!
2. Unplug From Technology
Social media is a huge presence in students’ lives today. At Nature’s Classroom, we require that students leave their phones and technology at home, giving them the space and time away from the digital world to enjoy the natural one.
Outdoor education is the perfect way to reintroduce students to organic interactions with the world and each other. By being with us for a week, they are able to reimagine their lives without social media and how that can be rewarding for them.
Students also learn skills with Nature’s Classroom that they often rely on technology for. For example, students can choose to learn orienteering during our Overnight Program. Students will build confidence as they learn that they don’t need to rely on technology to navigate the world.
Taking a step away from technology allows students to learn these life-changing skills and build deeper relationships with each other.
3. Build Teamwork Skills
Outdoor education bonds students and teaches them how to work together. We provide a range of fun, engaging activities that build students’ teamwork skills.
At our overnight program, we have what we call the Low Ropes Course: an obstacle course! Students work in teams to help each other through the course and come out victorious on the other side. The Low Ropes Course is a great social and emotional learning (SEL) experience for students.
Another team-building activity that is a student favorite is the skit performance. Students interact with each other constantly throughout the experience, allowing them to grow their communication skills while having fun!
Students also have the opportunity to become leaders in their respective teams as they navigate the wilderness. What better way is there to learn new leadership skills?
4. Enjoy Fresh Air After Quarantine
Since 2020, we’ve collectively struggled to adapt our lifestyles and school schedules around COVID-19. It’s no exaggeration to say we’re tired—-and students are no exception.
After spending a large chunk of time learning remotely indoors, students are eager to stretch their legs and see some of their classmates. Outdoor education is the perfect opportunity to meet these desires. Read more here about how we keep our students safe during our programs.
We are eager to reintroduce students to the world and teach them about all the wonders out there. Students are resilient, and spending time together outdoors is the perfect reward for all their hard work and patience during these tough times.
5. Gain Confidence
Outdoor education is full of opportunities for students to become more confident.
For some students, an overnight trip may be the first time they’ve spent a night away from home. It can be scary for some, but after the experience, kids will feel more confident in their own independence and agency.
Our programs also include an option for students to go on field groups. Field groups are self-led excursions where students hike in teams, using their recently learned skills to traverse the wilderness. By leading these hikes themselves, students build confidence in their own skills and their teammates.
With so much new stuff to learn and experience, students will feel like they can take on the world.
Ready to lace up your sneakers and run outside? We definitely are! To learn more about how you can sign up your students for the outdoor education experience of a lifetime, visit our homepage.
We can’t wait to see you in the wilderness!