Healthy Schools - Outdoor Classroom

outdoor classroom with trees, chalk board, and wooden benches

What is an outdoor classroom?

Outdoor classrooms follow the principle that children are learning everywhere and all the time.  Learning by experience helps children grow in motor development, social-emotional development, language development, and creative expression.  Learning outside helps children reconnect with Nature.  Outdoor classrooms aim to engage children’s needs and interests through a mix of activities. Outdoor classrooms can increase opportunities for physical activity.  Besides, some things can only be learned outdoors.

Who can help with outdoor learning?

There are several outdoor classroom opportunities in Tennessee.  Project Learning Tree is a program of the American Forest Foundation that uses the forest as a window on the world, engaging the next generation of America's thought-leaders and decision makers. Project Learning Tree provides educators with peer-reviewed, award-winning environmental education curriculum resources that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas.  Project WET or Water Education for Teachers provides formal and non-formal educators with curriculum, materials, and training in water education for students K-12.  Project WET conducts teacher workshops, develops educational materials, and supports environmental education in Tennessee.

Government partners

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Environmental Education


Helpful documents

Tennessee Department of Health
Harvesting a Future -  A Comprehensive Garden Resource Guide