Getting Admin On Board with Outdoor Learning

Often the most overwhelming hurdles in outdoor education are other adults. From the members of your teaching team, to the families to your admin, there’s a lot of people with a lot of opinions on outdoor time- particularly in less than perfect weather conditions. The biggest hurdle of all can sometimes be getting admin on board with outdoor learning in any capacity at all.

Hopefully it is as easy as listing and sharing some of the benefits to outdoor learning like:

>  Learning outside helps us develop a respect and appreciation of the environment and the natural world

> Playing outside in all types of weather builds resilience 

>  We need space to move our gross motor muscles beyond the expectations and confines of the walls of the classroom

> Breathing in the fresh air acts as a reset and gives us energy to last the long learning day

Etc, etc. I could go on and on.

But…. sometimes this isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to use other strategies and rely on more than just our philosophy of education to get these other adults on board. 

Today we are talking about the big one. The one that involves bravery and maybe more time in the office than you are comfortable with. We are talking about getting admin on board with outdoor learning.

It all started because of this submission to my question box on IG:

“Nothing because our principal doesn’t support outdoor learning. Any tips?”

I have definitely experienced this first hand and am proud to say that by the end of the year we were living in outdoor bliss for 2 hours a day. 

Top 3 Tips for Getting Admin On Board with Outdoor Learning:

>> Tip 1: Find specific examples in your curriculum document to support your outdoor learning program. Open the documents online and use CTRL + F for terms like: outdoor, outside, environment, natural world, schoolyard

>> Tip 2: Although not impossible, going from zero to 100 in your outdoor program will be hard. Having smaller goals, like extending recess for 20 minutes for a group activity, is easier to sell. As comfort and education about why it’s working grows, so can your time outside.

>> Tip 3: There is likely a past experience creating this resistance. Did parents complain? Did someone get injured? Ask to sit down and express why you want to prioritize learning outside and listen to address their concerns.

Getting admin, your direct team and the families of your students on board is truly the first step toward achieving the outdoor ed program of your dreams. That’s why it’s actually the first part of my virtual workshop all about building your program!

Looking for more support? Check out my virtual workshop all about building your own outdoor education program.

This 26-minute long video and a workbook is designed to help you work through a variety of prompts that will help prepare you to implement or improve your outdoor education program in kindergarten. It covers connections to the Ontario Kindergarten Program including research that supports outdoor learning, getting your admin and team on board, overcoming roadblocks like a concrete yard, scheduling outdoor play into your day and planning activities. I have included a big bank of ideas organized by weather type to get you going!

Here’s what a few educators had to say about it:

“If you are new to Outdoor Education then you need to watch this!! It will put your mind at ease and make you wonder why you waited so long to incorporate Outdoor Education into your life. Mariah’s outdoor education resources are the absolute best. Go get them now!!”

“This resource gave me much more confidence teaching Outdoor Education to my Kindergarten students.”

“I love this resource! The videos were so good and Mariah always has the best advice for reflecting and planning! Merci!”

Click here to check it out!

Love to listen?

Click here to listen in on episode 23 of Kindergarten Kept Simple for more on getting admin on board with outdoor learning

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Kindergarten specialist turned curriculum writer. Mom, wannabe baker and lover of early 2000s Disney Channel (hello, Lizzie McGuire and HSM). Enthusiast of ponytails, pancakes and helping Canadian kindergarten teachers stress less by simplifying their planning and re-igniting their love of play-based learning. Here to help you take back your weekends and love teaching on week days.

Or, send me an email at mariah@aplayfulpurpose.com