Members of the GROW Steering Group gathered on February 15th at the Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability to develop a three-year plan to support outdoor learning in Madison. Get ready, because we’re soon going to ask for members to review it!
Using input gathered from individual and organizational members through online surveys and at meetings during 2011, the group is crafting a plan to:
- link community members to outdoor learning resources;
- support professional development so that educators can more effectively link outdoor learning to district standards; and
- build a collective voice to impact educational policies and systems so that outdoor learning is integrated into the school day and after-school programming.
Ultimately, outdoor learning can lead to myriad results, where children:
- increase physical activity;
- engage in learning through hands-on, inquiry-based activities;
- better understand where food comes from;
- learn how to make healthy food choices;
- decrease risk behavior through postive youth develolpment; and
- learn how to integrate sensory experiences through sensory-rich learning.
At the same time, outdoor classrooms can engage a more diverse set of community members in the educational process, as families build capacity for more sustainable food and activity choices.
Clearly, these kinds of outcomes take time and coordinated efforts, and our plan will reflect that. But hey! That’s why we formed a coalition!
Look for an invitation to review and comment on the plan in the next couple of months! Your ideas matter!