Outdoor Classroom Program: Using Nature to Understand the World

It’s not hard to believe that nature has important things to offer–but few would think that you can teach real lessons (like physics!) out in the wilderness. At Elevations, we have an outdoor classroom program that helps our students understand themselves and the world around them on a deeper level.

From academics to emotional intelligence, the outdoors give a unique place to delve into subjects in a way a classroom can never provide. It allows for a singular opportunity to change a student’s perspective on certain concepts and lessons that they may have never seen otherwise in the classroom.  

Our outdoor classroom program

At Elevations, our outdoor classroom program includes rec staff and academic staff. They all do an activity together, such as rock climbing or rafting and integrate academic aspects into the activity.

Since an actual teacher is coming along and has planned a way to blend in the curriculum into the activity, students still gain credit even though they’re not in a classroom. Sometimes it has to do with art, math, or other subjects.

Learning physics while rock climbing

outdoor classroom programAn example of our outdoor classroom program is a trip where our students learned physics while rock climbing. We were teaching our students how to set up anchors—and used that to explain some of the principles of physics.

We taught them how much force is put on the rocks, rope, and other parts when a student is belaying down the rock face. For some students, this was a way to break through to them because they struggle to grasp the concepts in the classroom.

Seeing the actual rules and concepts of physics in action helped many of our students get a deeper understanding and actually get motivated to learn because they’re in a different, fun environment.

For those that were a little afraid to try rock climbing, learning the physics of it could actually settle their fears. Once they understand that it would take Superman or the Hulk to break the mechanics of the support system while belaying, it’s a lot less scary.

Textbooks and traditional forms of learning are obviously important, but sometimes to get through to students, our outdoor classroom program is a defining factor in finding motivation and success in learning.

Our outdoor classroom program is an essential part of our curriculum at Elevations–and will continue to be as long as it enriches the educational experience of our students.

Elevations is here for your family

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiance, trauma, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues.

At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. Finding the right program can be difficult for a family, which is why Elevations is here to help guide you through it.

For more information about our outdoor classroom program at Elevations RTC, please call .