Community Education

Peninsula School District gauging parents’ interest in outdoor education

Posted on February 6th, 2024 By:

Peninsula School District is conducting a survey to gauge parents’ interest in outdoor education for their children. The survey, available here, closes Feb. 19.

The survey is also available to the general public to identify potential community partners for the district’s outdoor education initiative.

The district will launch the Eagle Quest Outdoor Learning Program, based at Evergreen Elementary on the Key Peninsula, in fall 2024. The district plans two multi-age classrooms at the school for grades 2-3 and 4-5 with lessons structured around outdoor education. Students will have physical classrooms, but much of their learning will take place outdoors.

“Grounded in STEM project-based learning and set amidst Key Peninsula’s state parks, streams, and forests, this innovative program will provide authentic learning experiences that foster independence, confidence, creativity and problem-solving,” the district states.

The Eagle Quest program expands on the district’s outdoor learning programs for 4- and 5-year-olds at Evergreen and Voyager elementary schools.

Students in Voyager Elementary School’s Transitional Kindergarten Program hike in Kopachuck State Park as part of their outdoor learning curriculum. Melissa Northstrom, Peninsula School District

The outdoor education movement, long popular in some European countries, is gaining ground in the United States. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction cites multiple benefits of outdoor education including a deeper understanding of scientific principals through hands-on learning, higher academic achievement overall, better critical thinking and collaboration skills, among others.

Peninsula School District will give priority for the Eagle Quest Outdoor Learning Program to Key Peninsula students eligible for the district’s highly capable program. Any remaining spaces would be filled by lottery, first from among students on the Key Peninsula, then from schools across the district.

The district’s webpage for the Eagle Quest program includes links to resources that explain the concept of outdoor education.