Teatown Tips for Teaching Outdoors
- Guide students visit by setting clear expectations before you set out. Set boundaries and rules in the beginning. Remind students to stay on the trail and be keen observers, by using their senses.
- Put yourself in an advantageous position when speaking to a group – climb on top of a rock, take the high ground. Take note of where the sun is – position yourself so that the sun is not directly in the group’s eyes.
- To get the attention of a long line of students– circle back to the midpoint of the group and speak from there, that way the tail and the head of the line can hear you.
- Learning outdoors means experiencing what nature has to offer – look first, talk later. It’s difficult to hold a group’s attention when a butterfly is soaring past. Let the kids have the experience, and then gather them together to discuss what they saw.
- If the group has lots of energy –have them run on the soccer field before setting out on the trails!
- Be respectful of where you are and convey that to the children. Model good behavior – no littering, picking plants, stomping on bugs!
- Everyone is afraid of something! Be honest about outdoor fears with kids. If you are afraid of spiders or snakes, use that as a jumping off point for a discussion.
- Kids always want to take things home. Living things belong where they are found and should be left where they are. Seeds, pine cones, rocks and fallen leaves are okay to collect – if you want them brought back to the classroom!
- Use silence as a learning tool – try silent walks, find a place where everyone can sit comfortably and have them listen to natural sounds.