Elementary Outdoor Programs Information

The Outdoor Environmental Education Department offers full day, half day, and extended half day field study programs to students from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve. Our field work sites are within an hour’s drive from the city and are mostly located on private land. These sites feature a stunning array of natural, historical, and cultural features that are educational in their own right but also help to promote experiential, active learning; to provide students direct interaction with the natural world; to introduce students to the natural history of their home region; to encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable living; and to enrich the classroom curriculum in a variety of ways.

Scheduling Your Field Study

Class Visits

Group Management Tips

 

Scheduling Your Field Study

Each field study season is scheduled separately just prior to the actual start date for field trips. 

 To apply for a field study, click on the appropriate field study season on the left hand side of this web page and complete an online request form. Please apply before the appropriate deadline date.

Applicants will be contacted by email the week following the deadline date. Please be prepared to confirm the field trip date with the Outdoor Education Staff when they email you with a possible date for your field study.  If you have any questions, please contact the Outdoor Education Office.

Busses will be booked and subsidized by the Outdoor Environmental Education department.  The bussing cost per student is as follows:

Half day trip in the city: $1.50

Half day trip out of the city: $2.00

Extended half day trip $3.00

Full day field trip $4.50

 Class Visits

Once your field trip has been scheduled, staff from the Outdoor Environmental Education department will contact you to set up a date for them to visit your class. The visits are typically done one to two weeks prior to your scheduled field trip date. Approximately one hour is required for most class visits and the Outdoor Education staff person will go over the goals of the field trip, what the students need to bring and what is expected of them on the field trip day. Class visits are done for classes going on full day or extended half day field trips. For those classes going on half day trips, the teacher will be contacted by Outdoor Education staff prior to their trip to plan the trip details. See Outdoor Field Trip Student Checklist.

 Group Management Tips

Learning in an outdoor classroom can be fun and exciting for educators and students. It offers unique learning opportunities for all. Here are a few suggestions for a successful experience.

Be Prepared

Read the lesson plan(s) and prepare for your activity before the field trip. This will help you feel comfortable teaching or assisting with it. If you are comfortable, your students will be too.

Have a Focus

Remember you cannot teach the students everything about any topic. Keep your main idea in mind when you are talking. What do you want the students to learn?

Be Enthusiastic

Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm. Sometimes students need a reminder that it is a good thing to be excited about learning. If you are talking about the plants and animals that live along the shore of a marsh, bend down to really show the kids the plants – get your hands dirty!

Demonstrate

Demonstration is more effective than description. When you are explaining an activity, demonstrate it at the same time.

Speak With the Group

When you are outdoors talking with a group, you can help to make sure they hear you by facing them and speaking clearly. Talk with them, not at them. Try to speak at a volume that is loud enough for your students to hear you, but not so loud as to scare away wildlife. Let the students know they can ask questions. Also, place the kids so their backs are to the sun. If they have their backs to the sun, they will not need to squint to look at you and may pay more attention.

Stimulate Imagination and Critical Thinking

Delivering facts is only a small part of teaching. Getting students to think is the key to making this trip a memorable experience. Help students understand the relevance of what you are discussing, not all of its details. Discuss larger meanings.

Encourage Curiosity

Throughout the field trip, encourage students to ask questions and point out what they see. It is okay to say, “I don’t know” – do not feel like you need to know all of the answers to their questions. Encourage students to write down their questions and make some observations that may help them to answer their own questions back in the classroom.

Acknowledge Respectful Behavior

Encourage students to engage in cooperation by working together, in caring and respect by showing concern for others and the environment, and in responsibility by being accountable for their individual actions. Be sure to thank students whom you observe being respectful of nature and others.

Wrap-up the Activity With a Discussion

At the end of an activity, try to pull it all together with summary questions. Always ask: how can you make a difference and help!