Outdoor education shouldn’t be too hard read these tips.

Outdoor education

Outdoor education is increasingly establishing itself as an innovative and promising educational avenue due to the many benefits it generates. And even more in the context of health constraints that remain in effect this year again, since it promotes physical distancing while reducing student stress. Are you interested in this approach? To inspire you. Here are ten project ideas to start in an outdoor classroom for an open-air return to school! You can also teach your kids about vocabulary words that start with D.

Classroom in the open air: significant advantages

The benefits of outdoor education are increasingly documented. And starting Teaching outside at the start of the school year, starting with regular but straightforward activities, offers several advantages:

  1. Take account of the beautiful fall days to clear the mind and give yourself space while taming the classroom without walls.
  2. Gradually establish habits, a routine, and a regularity (group management is easier with the experience of the students and the teacher).
  3. Inform the administration, parents, and students of its objectives and the roles of each while answering questions and concerns (and seeking, if necessary, the necessary authorizations).
  4. Offer a safe and warm context that promotes group cohesion, socialization, cooperation, and a bond of trust with the teacher.

Teachers with experience in outdoor Teaching

Teachers with experience in outdoor Teaching will all tell you: consistency is one of the keys to success. Going out regularly will help your students and their parents get used to planning clothing for the weather. It will also be more comfortable for you to continue your outdoor classes during the winter if you have made a habit of going out regularly, starting in the fall. Start with frequent but short outings and extend the length of outdoor classes as you gain experience.

Project-based learning provides opportunities for learning outdoors in all seasons.

Project-based pedagogy applies very well to outdoor classes. It makes it possible to practice the learning seen in class and give them scope and meaning. An outside classroom context allows learning to anchor their social, cultural, historical, geographic, political, etc. In addition to being motivating. The project-based approach will offer you several opportunities to go outside at all ages and in all divisions, even in winter. It also makes it possible to integrate various subjects (interdisciplinarity).

Strategies to explore for outdoor

Are you new to an outdoor class and not entirely comfortable getting started on a project right from the start? That is quite normal! Watch our online course: How to set up an outdoor classroom at your school? to familiarize yourself with this approach. See the article Outdoor educational activities: 3 strategies to explore for outdoor Teaching to explore different techniques. The article Teaching outdoors in the era of COVID-19: tips, tricks, and activities on the Monique-Fitz-Back Foundation’s website also offers various simple exercises to do outdoors.

Booming educational approach

Consult our complete file Teaching in the open sky: A booming educational approach! Ready to take action? Here are ten project ideas for outdoor classes to start at the start of the school year. These projects can spread over a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, depending on your objectives and the time you are willing to devote to them.

Idea # 1: Adopt a threatened or vulnerable species

Research threatened and vulnerable species in Quebec; Choose one with your students, ideally meeting in your area. Over the months, lead a discussion outside on what “your protégé. How does he adapts to his environment (e.g., do you find it getting cold? Our turtle is probably looking for a safe place to hibernate now). If possible, organize an outing to observe the chosen species or to explore its natural habitat.

Idea # 2: Plant bulbs

Did you know that we should plant some plants in the fall rather than in the spring? Obtain bulbs and identify with your pupils where to grow them (to be validated with the direction). However, We can plant several species in late September or early October: garlic, daffodils, crocuses, irises, snowdrops, anemones, or even tulips. Don’t forget to watch their release in the spring!

Idea # 3: discover its local treasures

Organize a walk in your neighborhood to discover the local heritage (you can even do it over the seasons on different themes). With your students, identify the elements you would like to help showcase (e.g., make a photo project to showcase a building, a place, or a historical figure). If you are confirmed acceptable to have a traditional society in your neighborhood. So You do not forget to take advantage of them (commented walk, archive research, revision of your informative or descriptive texts, etc. Without forgetting the elders. Who could provide beautiful testimonials and valuable information!

Idea # 4: Organize seasonal hikes

Plan a hike (in town or nature) to enjoy the fall colors (early October); You can make it an educational process by putting your students in the know for the organization: where to go, which route to choose, what to bring on a hike. What rules to follow so as not to harm the environment in Outdoor education. The ethics of the outdoors and the seven No Trace principles ), etc. Visit the FÉÉPEQ website to discover learning and evaluation situations on hiking and for various outdoor activities (canoeing, orienteering, etc.). If necessary, apply for financial assistance from the Jeanes eon Trails program to help cover your expenses (e.g., costs related to logistics, access fees, travel, etc.). Article Hills

Idea # 5: Create a grain library

Almost everywhere in Quebec, grain libraries are multiplying. What is it about? A grain group is a collection of seeds made available to the public to be shared. A bit like the “Croque-livres”. It is encouraged to take some to sow some, but also to bring back when possible. Find a place for your grain library (school library or municipal library) and promote your initiative. However, Contact Croquariumor, an urban agriculture organization in your area, for support (educational activities on seeds). Nature literature is full of great stories about the life of plants and seeds. We can integrate science by observing the sources produced by different plants and making hypotheses and mathematics that We can incorporate in the counting or even the classification of these.

Idea # 6: Become a budding meteorologist

There are many ways on the Internet for building small weather stations. Thermometer, rain gauge, barometer, weather vane, clock (to know what time to take the data), and meter (to measure the height of the snow) are some accessible elements to install and offer you a subject of study throughout the year. This project is also a good starting point for talking about meteorological phenomena. (formation of clouds, rain, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc.). So renewable energies, or even the adaptation of humans to their territory.

Idea # 7: Help the birds through the winter.

Birds are the most easily observed animals near the school and throughout the year. But precisely, which birds stay in winter and how do they survive? This project will lead you to talk about various topics (wintering, migration, physical and behavioral adaptations, diet, etc.  Although there are many works you can do to help birds get through the winter: offer food (sunflower seeds, fat, etc.), build windbreaks, provide a water source, etc. . Contact the Regroupement Québec Oiseaux or your local ornithology club to support you in your project.

Idea # 8: Tackle invasive alien plants

Involving your students in an invasive species project is both an advantageous environmental and community experience in Outdoor education. Taking an interest in invasive alien species also allows us to understand better the functioning of ecosystems and the importance of safeguarding our native species. So check with your regional environmental council to learn more about invasive alien species in your region and how you could help (awareness, identification, uprooting, etc.).

Idea # 9: Picking and storing food for the winter

Transform part of the harvests in your garden to eat well during the cold season: economical, healthy, and logical! This project can educate in healthy lifestyles and promote exchanges while integrating many subjects. And why not take the opportunity to learn about picking wild edible plants? Have a professional accompany you to avoid identification, storage, or processing errors.

Idea # 10: Participate in a citizen science project

Citizen science projects bring scientists and citizen volunteers together to collect a large amount of data. Such initiatives allow students to improve their understanding of biodiversity, participate in its preservation, develop many skills (critical thinking, collaboration, etc.) and discover their environment in Outdoor education. The QuéBio site lists significant citizen science projects related to Quebec’s biodiversity (Sentinel project, Citizen bees, Monarch Mission, J’adopte un cours d’eau, AttentionGrenouille or Budworm trackers). In conclusion, the outdoors offers many opportunities to develop concrete and stimulating educational projects with your students and make them live an unforgettable year of learning in pleasure!

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