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Claremont Teachers Begin a Year-long Exploration of Outdoor Classrooms

Updated: Jan 28

Dawn

was asked to coordinate an Outdoor Learning Track for the Claremont School District (SAU6). This is one of many professional development tracks offered to teachers and staff this school year. Participants in the outdoor learning track will experience how to utilize an outdoor classroom through the seasons. In this first session, the middle & high school group, learned about some of the many benefits of place-based learning (PBL), which includes learning outdoors. Research has shown that PBL helps students learn, transforms school culture, energizes teachers, connects schools to communities, and invites students to become active citizens. Participants also practiced assessing benefits and risks of using outdoor classrooms and considered ways to mitigate risks. They did this through experiencing activities in the forest first hand. They were give time by themselves at a Solo Sit Spot to reflect on the value of these kind of learning experiences for themselves and their students.

Eliza Minnucci, a licensed Vermont elementary educator, is leading the elementary outdoor learning track. From 2009-2014 she taught kindergarten at the Ottauquechee School, part of the Hartford, VT school district. While there she founded the Forest Days program, taking her students into a wildspace, every Friday, all day, all year. The outdoor learning track will continue throughout the school year and is funded through a Wellborn Ecology Fund Grant from New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

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