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5 Principles of Outdoor School and High-Quality Instructional Resource Rubric

To ensure that each fifth- or sixth-grade student that attends outdoor school has a quality learning experience, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program developed the following 5 Principals for Outdoor School:

  1. Program built on high-quality curriculum
  2. Experience has a purposeful and sequential flow
  3. Engaging teaching methodology is used throughout
  4. Social Emotional Learning is embedded into all activities
  5. Safe and Inclusive environment is provided for all participants

These principals were identified by stakeholders throughout the state as crucial components to a high-quality outdoor school experience. And, while high-quality curriculum is just one of the Principles of Outdoor School, it is the foundation upon which the remaining principles are built. Because of this, the High-Quality Instructional Resource Rubric was created as a resource for outdoor school providers and school districts to self-assess the curriculum they use at their outdoor schools.

The purpose of the Rubric is to ensure that each fifth- or sixth-grade student attending outdoor school has a purposeful and quality learning experience. The “Features” identified in this Rubric are based on best practices in education and our hope is that this will be a tool to help schools, districts, and providers be intentional in developing and implementing their outdoor school programming. The intent of this rubric is not to standardize the outdoor school experience. It should, rather, be used as a tool to ensure that students have a high-quality experience that connects back to the classroom.


Please don't hesitate to contact us at or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!