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Curriculum and Programming

Outdoor school curriculum, program design, and educator instructional approaches all affect the quality of a student's outdoor school experience. Because every student and every outdoor school program are different, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to developing meaningful and inclusive programs. The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program does not mandate a particular outdoor school curriculum. Instead, we support educators in developing curriculum and designing programs that center equity and fit students' and communities' needs. 


If you are trying to develop or improve an outdoor school program, check out the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program's Self-Evaluation Tools! These three tools provide an overview of features of inclusive, meaningful outdoor school programs and are organized around three themes:

  1. Instructional resources and curriculum (the Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool)
  2. Cultural responsiveness, equity, diversity, and inclusion (the Cultural Responsiveness Self-Evaluation Tool)
  3. Accessibility and support for students with disabilities (the Special Education and Accessibility Self-Evaluation Tool)

The tools are designed to support outdoor school educators in thinking critically about their programs, building on strengths, and making changes to better support students. Each tool is accompanied by a resource page that guides educators in learning more about each topic. 

Virtual Community of Practice

Would you like to connect with others in the outdoor school network to discuss shared challenges, ask for and offer advice about outdoor school, or learn about new resources? Consider joining a Community of Practice meeting! Our informal bi-weekly meetings occur every other Thursday at 2 p.m., and we usually have a mix of regular attendees and folks who join only on occasion. All are welcome to attend to ask questions, offer advice, or sit back and listen. You can find more details about the group and register for the Zoom link on our Events page.  

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Could you use support as you develop outdoor school curriculum, plan outdoor school programming, or train your staff in instructional practices? Our team is happy to take requests for custom support for schools, districts, and outdoor school providers/sites. We can provide assistance with using our Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool, share resources, and work with you to find or develop curriculum materials that meet your students' needs. Please contact Kristi Backe, our Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator, using the form to the right!

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