Make the Case with your "Why"
Identify 3 to 5 reasons to share with school district administration, teachers and other parents for why you'd like to see outdoor learning in your child's school. Connect these with the school/school district's mission. How can outdoor learning be a vehicle for supporting/achieving the mission/goals of the school/school district?
Explore key research that examines the benefits of outdoor learning here.
Incorporate outdoor activities into School Events organized by the PTO/PTA
Storywalks (Great opportunity to partner with local library)
Invite your Nature Center, Watershed, County Soil & Water Program, etc. to attend to do programming or have a display table at your events (Check out possible organizations to partner with here and more organizations here)
Outdoor scavenger or medallion hunt in schoolyard or nearby park
Read-a-Thon Storywalk at Jeffers Pond Elementary
Organize Fundraising Events to Support:
Creating outdoor classroom spaces (Outdoor seating areas, vegetable gardens, wildflower gardens, etc)
Purchasing outdoor learning instructional materials
Partnering with local environmental educators to visit each grade level/classroom multiple times a year (This could also involve the schools taking a field trip off-site. But whenever possible, incorporate lessons at the physical school as well to demonstrate for teachers on how to utilize the schoolyard for teaching outdoors. See Inspiring Partnerships for examples)
Sponsor Professional Development opportunities for teachers. Cover sub costs for teachers to visit other schools/teachers, pay the costs to have an organization come do PD, and/or cover workshop/conference fees (Some organizations that offer PD can be found on this map)
Assist teachers with outdoor learning: Volunteer to be an extra set of eyes & hands during the outdoor learning time
Create & Maintain Spaces: Many hands make light work! In addition to physically creating the spaces, teachers are often responsible for maintaining the outdoor classroom spaces year-round as well. Create a volunteer schedule to help with weeding, mulching, and maintaining the spaces.
Maintain a Gear Lending Library Organizing a washing schedule, repair/maintain gear, collect replacement items.
Host a Gear Swap Provide families the opportunity to connect with one another to swap gear their children have outgrown.
The "Dads of Great Students (DOGS)" of Jeffers Pond Elementary built an outdoor easel
The "Dads of Great Students (DOGS)" of Jeffers Pond Elementary built a boot storage for every classroom.