Planning for Outdoor Learning
Thinking about incorporating outdoor learning in your 2020-21 school plans? This webinar features case studies from San Mateo County, including a principal perspective, two community-based partners that piloted programs over the summer, and a teacher's perspective on preparing to teach outdoors.
Video (7:30): Condensed Introduction to Outdoor Learning as Part of COVID-19 Recovery
Video (5:06): Teacher Perspective from Private Independent School
Customized Technical Assistance
There is an urgent need to reimagine PreK-12 schools in order to reopen safely and equitably. Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature. Click on the button below if you would like to request support from SMCOE's Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (ELSI) in making outdoor learning more feasible in your school community.
Outdoor Learning Resources
Outdoor Learning During COVID-19
Outdoor learning is a time-tested approach to keeping school open during a pandemic. A hundred years ago, schools around the world went outside to reduce the spread of tuberculosis and Spanish flu. Today, school leaders are looking again to the outdoors for the following benefits:
- Provide more equitable access to in-person learning by getting more students on campus
- Safer environment for staff and students with access to cleaner air and natural ventilation
- Greater physical distancing
- Cost-effective and quick to implement
- Increased hands-on learning opportunities
- Proven mental and physical health benefits for students and staff
Green Schoolyards America, in partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education, is developing resources for outdoor learning. Visit Green Schoolyards America's COVID-19 Outdoor Learning page to find official guidelines and policies, case studies, design resources, and outdoor learning integration tools. Additional resources are below.
Outdoor Learning in the News
- Schools seeking alternative to remote learning try an experiment: Outdoor classrooms. (NBC News, August 5, 2020)
- Is outdoor school a viable option this fall? (Slate, August 4, 2020)
- Inside the quest to reopen schools - by moving classes outside. (Fast Company, July 25, 2020)