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Report Sheds Light on Outdoor Education in City Parks

Report Sheds Light on Outdoor Education in City Parks

“The Classroom in Open Air” Project, by Naomi W. Reichstein

The Classroom in Open Air Project, by Naomi W. Reichstein for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, aimed to examine which Vancouver-area schools use parks, which parks are most popular for school use, which subjects are taught outdoors, and what other school-based activities occur in these spaces. Barriers to bringing learning outdoors, and what resources could address these barriers were also examined via feedback from participants.

Based on findings from 76 participants working at 47 different schools, Ms. Reichstein found that among secondary school teachers who use parks as part of their teaching, most commonly teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) courses. Outdoor environmental learning seems to occur most frequently in early primary years (Kindergarten and Grade 1) as well as in Grade 10. Classes that visit parks, commonly do so in group sizes of 10-29 students.

Barriers to bringing learning outdoors included proximity to the school, and lack of knowledge on behalf of the teacher on how to deliver outdoor environmental learning. Teachers expressed interest in acquiring lesson plans, professional development, and maps to aid in bringing learning outdoors.

Read about the project and findings here: Classroom in Open Air Report.