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Taking Education Outdoors: Out-of-School & Other Programming

Students learning outdoors wearing masks

Out-of-School Time Programs 

Before and after school programs and Community Learning Centers can also take programming outdoors. These free activity guides provide hundreds of ideas, organized by subject area:

Project WILD, Project WET, and Project Learning Tree (PLT) are low-cost activity guides that could support learning outdoors before- and after-school. 

Community Learning Hubs

If students are not physically at schools, this can pose additional challenges for families, such as access to reliable Internet and adequate supervision. Nature center and other community organizations with classroom space can serve as "Community Learning Hubs"—providing safe, accessible spaces for learners. 

Community Story: Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison is serving as a community learning hub for students in the Bayview neighborhood. 

Many nature centers are adjusting their programming in response to the pandemic. Schools can coordinate with local nature centers to support families and learning on days when their children are not in school. Find a nature center near you.

Family Activities 

With increased screen time, many families are looking for options to unplug after school and on the weekends. Schools can support a healthy balance of focused academics and unstructured time outdoors with ideas from Free Forest School Activities and the Loose Parts Toolkit.

For questions about this information, contact Victoria Rydberg-Nania (608) 266-0419