An outdoor education degree ensures a strong connection between outdoor and classroom learning. With so much emphasis on green schools, forest schools and the environment, obtaining an outdoor education degree is an excellent choice. Young children that have a teacher with outdoor training have an advantage.
Learning how to create opportunities to integrate reading, writing, science and math with the outdoors is a beneficial teaching skill. If you’re a skilled professional that knows how to provide a strong connection between outdoor and classroom learning, you will impact children’s thinking toward living things and the world around them. If you can model attitudes and actions toward caring for the environment you will create enthusiasm and a life long love of nature in your students.
Even young children can do their part towards restoring a damaged environment, helping with the garden and learning the names of a few native species. They can take small steps in order to encourage wildlife and learn the basics of recycling. Knowledge gained during outdoor education projects is later applied in the classroom in language arts, math, social studies, and science classes.
What will I learn while working towards an Outdoor Education Degree?
The importance of taking care of our environment is emphasized through courses such as:
- Leave No Trace
- Wilderness Medicine
- Wilderness First Responder
- Wilderness First Aid
- Outdoor Leadership
Learning how to plan ahead, prepare, travel, camp, leave the environment as you find it, dispose of waste correctly and prevent fires are all part of obtaining an environmental education.
The courses offered should train education students:
- to learn about community-based outdoor, nature-oriented activities, explore experiential education theory and hands-on methodologies as they apply to a variety of environmental contexts/all teaching subjects
- to complete a number of weeks of placements, including an alternative practicum that can be done outside a school setting and anywhere in the world as long as it is related to the program
- to possibly partake in education-related travel outside of your geographical region
- to take part in field camps
- to develop the leadership skills required to carry out innovative outdoor and experiential programs
- to develops critical thinking skills pertaining to contemporary environmental and educational issues.
Outdoor Education and Young Children
An outdoor education degree should offer courses that will assist you in teaching children:
- how to appreciate their environment
- that natural and human system are all connected
- to develop an appreciation for the natural world that will encourage them to learn about and protect the environment
The courses should also teach you how to provide opportunities for your students to take responsible actions and explore the environmental impact of what they do.
Textbook or the real thing?
Check to see if the courses are actually taught in the field and not only with textbooks. Also find out the average class sizes, the university’s safety record with field instruction, and the qualifications of their instructors.
An outdoor Ed. degree sometimes offers instruction in:
- Rock Climbing
- Kayak Touring
- River Rescue