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.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGH-QUALITY CURRICULUM AND PROGRAMMING
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:
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.
Every Oregon student deserves an engaging and relevant outdoor school program. The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program offers support to individuals and teams who are revising or developing curriculum for outdoor school. Though curriculum varies by program (based on students' needs, the natural assets of the outdoor school site, etc.), we hope all curriculum centers equity, helps students develop a connection to special places, and supports students' academic and social-emotional growth. Visit our Curriculum page for more information.
COVID-19 Programming Resources
We have created and gathered resources for planning outdoor school programming during COVID-19, including planning modified programming such as distance learning or schoolyard experiences. The COVID-19 Programming Resources page includes:
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!