Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education at Selwyn and Beyond

“The first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature. . . The scholar must needs stand wistful and admiring before this great spectacle.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

At Selwyn School, outdoor education has always been an integral aspect of our curriculum. Our outdoor education program is a collaboration between teachers and students across all grades and subjects, with a focus on project-based learning activities. On our campus, the environment is an extension of the classroom that offers many benefits that can’t be provided solely indoors.

Selwyn’s Outdoor Education Program 

Our program takes many forms. On a regular basis, Selwyn students have the opportunity to work in the school garden, where they learn how to grow fruits and vegetables, how to reduce and reuse waste, and how to create a more sustainable ecosystem. We also take students on nature hikes—excursions used as an occasion to simply relate to and enjoy nature, while tying in topics from the classroom.

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Perspectives Travel Program

Selwyn hosts annual student trips through our Perspectives Travel Program for lower through upper schools, where the duration and distance traveled grows along with the students.

In the Lower School, first and second grade students go on a day trip within the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. Second graders also have an overnight excursion in the area. Third grade students enjoy a three-day trip to a local camp, while fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students attend a week-long adventure at Camp. In Middle School, students could experience the ocean near Corpus Christi, the mountains of Colorado, or the desert in Big Bend. Upper School students have the opportunity to travel even further, where they can open their mind to new horizons and learn to appreciate other cultures around the world.

Outdoor education has proven to provide both short-term and long-term benefits. Our students get to see themselves in a global context, develop an awareness of the need for sustainable use of the world’s natural resources, and grow with the world right before their eyes.

The Benefits of Outdoor Education

Builds a Community

Our outdoor education program allows students to form relationships with classmates they might normally interact with on a daily basis. Students work together in groups to solve problems and discover more about the world around them, all the while forming deeper connections with their team.

Working outdoors and sharing exciting experiences together helps to improve social skills, peer cooperation, and conflict resolution. They also develop a common language, packed with “inside jokes” and terminology that is used nowhere else. A unique culture arises around their shared experiences.

Encourages Students to Leave Their Comfort Zones

The activities are designed so that older students can help lead lessons, allowing for peer teaching and the development of leadership and community. Younger and older students rise to the occasion, surpassing normal expectations and standards simply because they are outside. The alternate setting allows them to demonstrate what they’ve learned in the classroom in the real world.

By encouraging students to leave their comfort zones, outdoor education helps to build self-esteem and self-confidence.

Promotes a Healthy Relationship with the Environment

Spending time in nature, away from computer, television, and smart phone screens lends serious benefits to the health of children. Exposure to the environment decreases stress and anxiety, elevates mood, and helps maintain a healthy emotional balance.

The opportunity for sensory, hands-on learning, rather than watching a video, cultivates positive feelings and memories around the outdoors and school. Years later, you can ask students about their outdoor education experiences and receive highly detailed, elaborate answers.

To learn more about the benefits of outdoor education and Selwyn School’s outdoor education program, visit our campus or contact us today!