Skip to the content

Outdoor School Principles and Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool

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 Principles for Outdoor School:

  1. Safe and Inclusive Environment Provided for all Participants
  2. Built on High Quality Curriculum 
  3. Engaging Teaching Methodology Used Throughout
  4. Experience Has a Purposeful and Sequential Flow
  5. Connects to the Classroom and Community of Students

These principles 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 Instructional Resource Self-Evaluation Tool was created as a resource for outdoor school providers and school districts to self-evaluate the curriculum they use at their outdoor schools.

The purpose of the Tool is to ensure that each fifth- or sixth-grade student attending outdoor school has a purposeful and quality learning experience. The “Characteristics” identified in this Tool are based on best practices in education and our hope is that it will help schools, districts, and providers be intentional in developing and implementing their outdoor school programming. The intent of this Tool is not to standardize the outdoor school experience, nor will it be used as a punitive measure related to funding. Rather, it supports and promotes the uniqueness that programs should provide students, and helps ensure that each student has a a high-quality experience that connects back to the classroom.

To download an editable spreadsheet version of the IRSET, please click here.


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