The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon has the goal of providing all children and youth in Central Oregon first hand connections with nature by providing meaningful, inspirational, and interdisciplinary education programs. The Children’s Forest is here to partner with schools and teachers to enhance learning through outdoor education. As a teacher, you play an important role in helping to instill a love of nature and science by bringing kids outside to learn. Whether you are considering your first field experience or have been leading them for decades, we’re here to help.
Outdoor learning engages students at a deeper level and provides opportunities for students of all abilities and backgrounds to experience and connect with the wonder, science, and adventure of nature. As a teacher, outdoor education can enrich your lesson planning and help your students meet state math and science standards. Hands-on learning also inspires your students to become stewards of the environment and introduces them to careers in natural resources.
“When the students are able to learn outdoors, they interact directly with their environment and naturally ask questions and form connections with the science content and the natural world. I see the students’ interest levels increase, and they take more ownership in what they learn.” -Rima Givot, Sisters High School
“We were astounded by how many math and science standards that we were hitting. Its almost silly not to be taking your kids outside and learning in these kinds of ways because the standards that these covers.” – Stephanie Morrison
The Studies Show Outdoor Learning….
[acc_item title=”Enhances Academic Achievement”]Studies show that students learn more when they participate in authentic, inquiry-based lessons in the natural environment.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Results In Better Performance on Standardized Tests”]A study of 40 schools found that students within an environment-based context showed better performance on standardized tests, increased enthusiasm for learning, and reduced classroom management and discipline problems.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Appeals to Students With Different Learning Styles”]Symptoms of ADD/ADHD are less severe in students during and after activities in greener settings.[/acc_item]
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The Children’s Forest network provides more than 30 region-wide programs -K-12- to help you, your school and your students access extraordinary outdoor learning. All programs are aligned with education standards and provide meaningful ways for students to learn science concepts using the natural world as their classroom. To view a complete list of environmental education programs by grade level,click here.
Recognizing that teachers often face many barriers, the Children’s Forest has developed a suite of resources, working to improve access to nature for all students. Our resources include:
[acc_item title=”Field Trip Planning Timeline”]
[acc_item title=”School Engagement Fund”]Deschutes National Forest has partnered with High Desert Education Service District to set up a School Engagement Fund to support field trips to local public lands and outdoor sites and programs. Teachers from Bend-La Pine, Crook County, Redmond, Sisters, Madras, and Culver School Districts can apply for the following purposes:
1. Transportation fees (bussing) for field experiences for students
2. Substitute fees associated with field experiences for students
Learn more and apply here.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Skyliners Lodge”]High Desert Education Service District has leased historic Skyliner Lodge, on Deschutes National Forest with the goal to use the facility for conservation, outdoor and natural resource education in addition to educational meetings. Any teacher in Central Oregon may reserve Skyliner Lodge at no charge. The lodge is located 8 miles west of Bend, holds 60-70 students, and has access to trails and Tumalo Creek. For more information about how to reserve the lodge, click here.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Resource Co-Op”]A Children’s Forest of Central Oregon lending library of field equipment is available to help you lead your own outdoor experiences, in your schoolyard or community. Any teacher in Central Oregon can check out the kits free of charge. To see a list of equipment available and reserve kits, click here.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Inclusion”]We highly encourage teachers that are planning field trips to ensure that ALL of their students, including those with disabilities, attend. All Children’s Forest of Central Oregon programs can be adapted for students with disabilities. In order to most effectively work with students with special needs, please communicate any necessary or helpful information to the program provider in advance.
Additionally, with 1 month’s advance notice, Bend Park and Recreation District may provide Therapeutic Recreation staff to provide individualized techniques and resources used to enhance program participation for students with disabilities. This service is intended to supplement assistance that school district aides provide. For more information, contact email@example.com.[/acc_item]
The Children’s Forest and our partners offer professional development opportunities for teachers to build skills and curriculum to lead your own outdoor activities. To learn about upcoming opportunities, click here.