Our Outdoor School Days program is possible with sponsorship from The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon. Over the course of 15 days, we saw 17 schools from Bend-La Pine, Redmond, and Prineville in grades K-5, which translates to over 1,100 students! Outdoor Days are experiential based hands-on learning, playing, and exploring in nature. Some students experienced the beautiful landscape of Smith Rock on the hotter days of early May, others enjoyed the rushing waters and open green spaces at Tumalo State Park, and the final four groups of students explored the wonderful learning spaces at Skyliner Lodge. Although the rains have been a downer on many of our Central Oregon planned adventures, we were lucky enough to have only one truly wet day, and even so, students had a ball splashing around and finding new ways to stay dry.
Thank you to The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon and our interns for making our Outdoor School Days happen. Teacher feedback is a great way to measure our effectiveness and their insight is always beneficial. Some said:
“Our favorite part was that our kids were learning outside!”
“We enjoyed the hands on activities for the kids. Appropriate information for kindergarten. Fun and friendly staff. Well organized. Patient staff with 5 & 6 year olds.”
“A great balance of direct instruction and games. I appreciated the staff’s flexibility with students that have behavior challenges and rolling with it!”
We couldn’t have put on these Outdoor School Days without our fabulous interns, though. They truly made learning special and unique and came with high spirits on a daily basis. Thanks to Ellysa, Hill, and Sherry, our outdoor days were fun and engaging!
Here is a bit more about all three of them as they wrap up working with us for the spring:
Hill Mannis is new to Bend and has a background working at a summer camp in New York. His presence truly made students feel welcome and his fun-loving attitude made it easy for students to connect with nature and with one another. Students enjoyed playing games, learning new vocabulary, and having one-on-one conversations with Hill. He engaged so many students in various ways, which is a wonderful natural trait!
Sherry Sellars has volunteered with The Environmental Center’s youth education programs before and truly loves being able to use her experience in outdoor education and providing students a fun, safe, and engaging learning environment. You can catch Sherry singing songs, teaching movements and dances, and incorporating funny words to her lessons in order for students to learn and explore!
Ellysa Lindenmaier is an OSU Student in the Nature, Eco, Adventure Tourism Program. She is a native Bendite and has a passion for being outdoors and a deep knowledge of our natural areas. Ellysa is an expert at connecting learning with games and hands-on activities so students loved all the tricks up her sleeve. She’s a natural fit for teaching students in the outdoors and leaves every day with a smile and a funny story!