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.
Enhances Academic Achievement: Studies show that students learn more when they participate in authentic, inquiry-based lessons in the natural environment.
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.
Appeals to Students With Different Learning Styles: Symptoms of ADD/ADHD are less severe in students during and after activities in greener settings.
“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
There are over 30 outdoor education programs to choose from for K-12 classes in Central Oregon. View our comprehensive programs lists, which include alignment to Next Generation Science Standards. Learn more here.
Teachers can apply to access funding to support bus and substitute costs for outdoor field trips. Funds are provided by the U.S. Forest Service. Learn more and apply here.
The Children’s Forest has kits of field equipment that can by checked out by any teacher in Central Oregon at no cost. Kits include birding, forest ecology, wildlife tracking, and more. See what kits are available here.
The Children’s Forest and our partners offer professional development workshops for teachers who are interested in leading outdoor activities on their own. Workshops are free, with substitute costs covered. Learn more here.
The NatureHoods Education program is for K-2 classes and introduces children to the wonders of nature right in their schoolyard. This free program is taught over 4 consecutive weeks. Learn more here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Children’s Forest partners developed virtual programs that align with their field trips. Resources include live virtual programs, recorded videos, and self-guided activities. Learn more here.
The Children’s Forest and our partners believe that all students should have access to high quality outdoor education experiences. Our network strives to make all outdoor programs inclusive, culturally-relevant, and positive experiences for each student.