The Lawrence Shares Best Practices for Outdoor Learning with Schools and Districts

December 1, 2021

The Lawrence Hall of Science has created a set of sample menus for best practices in outdoor learning, thanks to support from the California Environmental Literacy Initiative and TenStrands. These research-based resources are designed to help school districts address students’ long term needs as a result of the pandemic and remote learning. The practices encourage using outdoor spaces to improve health and well-being, and to accelerate learning. These practices can also be applied within a district to accelerate learning and to achieve district goals such as supporting equity, racial justice, culturally responsive practices, enhancing physical and mental health, learning and social-emotional wellness, centering learning experiences on local places and community issues, and enhancing, sustaining, and improving distance learning/ independent study.

“There are a lot of resources out there on outdoor learning,” notes Vanessa Lujan, PhD., Deputy Director of the Learning and Teaching Group and Director of BaySci at The Lawrence. “There are a lot of resources out there for districts on how to spend relief funds. There are a lot of resources on what should happen. These are unique in that they provide the how—emphasizing how districts can partner with organizations or entities—that is importantly tied to the language, goals, and plans of districts and their funding streams.”

The menus represent expanded learning opportunities that can be supported by state and federal funds intended for COVID-19 recovery and rebuilding. San Francisco Bay Area schools and districts will find the guidance and Lawrence-specific menu documents most helpful. Districts and schools residing beyond the San Francisco Bay Area will find the guidance and general menu documents most helpful.

Development of this resource is funded by Ten Strands and the California Environmental Literacy Initiative.

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