Kids need fresh air, dirt on their hands, and long hikes in the woods. Traditionally, schools have kept kids in a classroom, sitting at a desk for most of the school day. Now, progressive and forward-thinking educators are embracing a different approach. One where children are outdoors, learning in nature for most or all of the school day.
With the changes and challenges of the past year, we’ve heard from more schools who are embracing nature-based learning and looking for creative ways to provide classroom spaces. Some are planning more outdoor time during the day, while others are actually making the outdoors their classroom. Colorado Yurts are the perfect compliment to outdoor learning schools.
Here are just a few of our school customers who use Colorado Yurts as key parts of their outdoor schools.
Riveredge School is an elementary school in Wisconsin that is focused on outdoor learning. Riveredge is a public charter school who partnered with the adjacent 379-acre nature center with the same name. They installed two 30’ Colorado Yurt Company yurts in 2019 on land adjacent to Riveredge Nature Center. The yurts have full electricity, a ceiling fan, a propane heater, windows, and two exit doors. The students spend time outdoors as much as possible, taking a long morning hike regardless of the weather. They usually do writing and math in the yurt, and pretty much everything else is outside, including hands-on science lessons. Riveredge really does integrate the outdoors in everything. On an average day, the kids hike five to seven miles. When asked how the yurts work as classrooms, one of the Riveredge teachers says, “You automatically feel like you’re in a special place. Circles are actually more natural than squares—there are more round edges than square edges in the natural world. Being in this special place opens you up to learning and seeing the world in a different way.”
The Mountain School in Colorado provides summer sessions and after school programs focused on adventure-based, experiential learning. The students at the Mountain School hike, climb, ski, explore, bike, and camp. The school’s goal is to encourage students to learn in and connect with mountains, rivers, and wild places. Their Colorado Yurt serves as a classroom and base for adventures. The director says, “The yurt has been great for us. The kids feel like it’s their own very cool place, and they love coming back to it after a day of outdoor experiences.”
Learning Outside is a forest-based school in North Carolina. They offer outdoor education programs that are interest-led, experiential and environmentally and seasonally-based. All programs are sited at Triangle Land Conservancy’s Irvin Nature Preserve. They have goats, chickens and gardens- and students are outside most of the day. Their Colorado Yurt is tucked in the forest, and serves as a basecamp. Learning Outside’s Instagram is one of our favorites, showing happy kids learning outside in all kinds of weather.