Course Description

Outdoor Classroom Design and Use: Integrating the Environment into the K-12 Classroom

Sat., October 8 (9am to 3pm) and Sun, October 9 (12pm to 3pm)

Outdoor Classroom Design prepares educators for integrating the environment into existing curriculum. Participants will create a master plan, assess project sites, design an outdoor classroom, practice outdoor classroom development skills on-site and develop and share lesson plans integrating the outdoor classroom into existing curriculum. 

As part of Temple University's Education for Sustainability Program, this  workshop equips K-12 educators with the knowledge and skill set for integrating the environment into existing curriculum. 

Through experiential learning in Temple’s living laboratory participants will:

1.  Understand the methods of using Outdoor Classrooms and benefits in light of outcomes, learning objectives, assessments, State Education Standards and academic research.

2. Identify subject-specific and cross-curricular uses for an Outdoor Classroom.

3. Identify native pollinator and host plants for use in an Outdoor Classroom.

4. Design an Outdoor Classroom including a promotion, financial and maintenance plan.

5. Build a model Outdoor Classroom on-site.

6. Design a Field Guide for outdoor classroom plants, including specific wildlife benefits.

7. Create environment-based lesson plans for integrating the environment into the curriculum. 

8. Combine field techniques that augment test-based learning with environment-based inclusion curriculum to address accommodations.

Course Outline

  • Brainstorm schoolyard possibilities
  • Evaluate project sites,
  • Explore native pollinator/host plants and bluebird trail
  • Develop a master plan timeline
  • Create a design for an outdoor classroom, 
  • Build a model outdoor classroom on-site,
  • Design a Field Guide to plants with wildlife benefits,
  • Create a promotion, maintenance and financial plan, 
  • Practice outdoor classroom development skills, and 
  • Develop and share lesson plans integrating the outdoor classroom into existing curriculum. 

Place-based Education

Hands-on, Outdoor, Place-based Education is HOPE for ecological literacy. Outdoor classrooms offer transparency between the schools interior and the social and ecological communities surrounding and supporting the school. They facilitate relationships with the natural world and offer teachers an opportunity to weave the environment into the fabric of the existing curriculum.

Outdoor Classroom Design and Use is developed and taught by Charlene L. Briggs, BS, MAEd, EE, professor in Temple University's Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, in the Tyler School of Art Division of Architecture and Environmental Design.


Workshop  Location:

This workshop takes place at the Temple University Ambler campus

580 Meetinghouse Road, Ambler, PA 19002.

Sat.,  October 8, 2016, from 9 AM to 3 PM

and Sun., October 9, 2016, from 12 PM to 3 PM

ACT 48 Credits are available

For more information, contact the Office of Non-Credit and Continuing Education at ncregistrar@temple.edu or 267-468-8500.


Program Endorsement:

The first step on the path of environmental stewardship is forming a relationship with nature. In a culture infused with extinction of experience, we must make every effort to provide opportunities to nurture that relationship by exposing children to natural communities. Building outdoor classrooms into the infrastructure of the schoolyard plants seeds that will germinate and develop into ecological literacy, a meaningful relationship with nature, and the preservation of biodiversity.

Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy

Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, Newark, and author of Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape. 

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.