Education's Next Revolution: Outdoor Learning
Countless studies have shown that the outdoor environment contributes to learning in very young children through hands-on experiences using as many of their senses as possible. The concept of ""outdoor classrooms"" has become more widespread in recent years. Using the outdoors as a learning environment helps children build language, develop an interest in science, and encourage physical activity. This panel will address the importance of outdoor learning and explore efforts being made in our region to develop schoolyard habitats and deeper appreciation of other outdoor learning environments.
Marc Rogoff, Environmental Education Specialist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Allison Mulch, Project Coordinator for “Eco Schools USA” at the New Jersey Audubon
John Jones, Teacher at Adler Avenue Middle School & Catawba Project Advisor
Laura Rotella, Education Manager at the Center for Family Resources
"Welcome to Caucus. I'm Steve Adubato. So, what exactly is outdoor education in an outdoor classroom, and how can it help students learn and, in fact, grow up great? In the studio to talk about it, we have a panel of experts. First, Allison Mulch, Project Coordinator for co-Schools USA in New Jersey at the New Jersey Audubon, John Jones is a teacher at Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, Marc Rogoff is Environmental Education Specialist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and finally, Laura Rotella, Education Manager at the Center for Family Resources. I want to thank you all for joining us, talking about outdoor classrooms, outdoor education, you’re gonna see a series of websites that come up throughout this program - valuable information. Follow it up. Let me start with you, Allison. Define outdoor education, outdoor classrooms. This is when the students go outdoors to... for all their learning. They can be engaged, they're trying to solve for a problem using the outdoors, it's using all of their senses. It doesn't have to be formal with actual chairs outside. This can be using just a tree. It can be a meadow, it can be a pond, it can be the grass outside. But how is that learning? Because you can... even engineering. Give a real example. Okay, so... with the New Jersey student learning standards for science, there's a lot of engineering ideas there. Students can design... there's a lot of paved surfaces in our cities for example. Clearly. Okay? So, by the way this can happen urban, suburban, rural areas, All landscapes. Doesn't matter. Outdoor education... Absolutely. Go Ahead. Right. So, with all this impervious surface that the water can't drain into is running and it's creating issues down the stream. Okay? So, students can come up with ways to stop that water from running out and gathering all the contaminants on its way out. They can do cleanups, They can plant rain gardens, that's going to increase the biodiversity, the... the root structure is going to help take some of that water away. This is..."