Thank you for leading the change for LAUSD and beyond as you help make your Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms sustainable and nurturing spaces for children and adults alike!
Scroll down for meeting dates, information and recording…
Bookmark this private page! This is your home base, with resources and opportunities for you as LAUSD Sustainability Specialists.
Keep in Touch
To reach everyone on the LAUSD Sustainability Specialists team, simply email [email protected]. You can also reach your Nature Explore coordinator Kirsten Haugen at [email protected].
Mark Your Calendars
We will meet from 1-2 pm on the third Thursday of every month via Zoom. Each month, we’ll have a short video/photo presentation from one or two sites. See the schedule of events below.
Our dedicated Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 840 6084 2833
One tap mobile:
+16699006833,,84060842833#,,,,*343225# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,84060842833#,,,,*343225# US (Tacoma)
Share Your Story
Email [email protected] to sign up for a date to present your site. These will be 5-8 minute informal videos and/or photos to tell your story about your outdoor classroom.
Suggest a Topic
Topics for each monthly meeting may include sustaining and maintaining your outdoor classrooms, plants and trees, finding loose parts, family engagement, curricular ideas and more. How and when we focus on each topic will be based on your ideas, questions, successes and challenges, so the more active you are in sharing, the more you’ll see your needs met in the topics we cover!
- Site presentation: 66th Street. See 66th Street’s Certified Page
- Topic: Ways to engage families, especially during covid, including how we might apply these Sustainability Indicators for Involving Families (from Keeping It Growing: Sustaining Your Outdoor Classroom):
- Involve families, including extended family, in your plans for your outdoor classroom
- Survey families for interests and skills to encourage volunteering in or for your outdoor classroom
- Regularly communicate with families about stories, successes and needs in your outdoor classroom
- And from last time: Maintain a posted list of maintenance and material needs (that families might contribute, for example)
Each site can choose one of these indicators as a team, and come up with a concrete way to focus on it.
“Our alliances with families hold the promise of open-hearted relationships in which we move beyond the formal roles of ‘educator’ and ‘parent’ and open our lives to each other.”
― Pelo and Carter, From Teaching to Thinking
December 16 – NO MEETING
Special Assignment: TAKE PHOTOS!
- Take photos of each area of your Outdoor Classroom
- Take photos illustrating each of the Ten Guiding Principles
- Take photos of caretaking/maintenance challenges and/or your creative solutions to those challenges
We will use these photos in future meetings, trainings and in discussions with our design and maintenance teams.
Send your photos to [email protected] via wetransfer.com
Prior Specialists Meetings
- Site presentations:
- Topic: Review resources available on this page; make suggestions
- Site presentations:
Arminta starts at 03:55. See Arminta’s Certified Page
Trinity starts at 19:03. See Trinity’s Certified Page
- Topic: Finding and storing loose parts
October 21—From Maintenance to Caretaking: Involving Children
- Site presentation: Wanda Mikes. See Wanda Mike’s Certified Page
- Topic: From Maintenance to Caretaking: Involving Children. Here’s a related piece from our blog: Heart-Centered Teaching: Enjoying Caretaking
About Nature Explore and LAUSD
- Map of EEC sites
- 2021 Video: Early Education Outdoor Classrooms in Los Angeles
- 2021 Article: “Everyone Has a Place to Thrive: Positive perspectives on Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms in Los Angeles Unified School District,” Exchange magazine, March/April 2021.
- 2019 Article: “Early Childhood Education in Public Schools: Los Angeles Unified School District’s Commitment to Providing Excellence for Its Youngest Learners,” Exchange magazine, March/April 2019.
- EECs with Nature Explore Classrooms
Nature Explore Resources
- Nature Explore PowerPoint – Share the benefits of natural outdoor classrooms
- Ten Guiding Principles, Illustrated – See and share examples of the guiding principles
- Outdoor Classroom Certification – Learn about certifying Outdoor Classrooms
- Outdoor Classroom Design Portfolio – View and share a sampling of Outdoor Classrooms designed by Nature Explore
- Videos from Nature Explore on YouTube
- Public Nature Explore Workshops and Professional Development
Research on Natural Outdoor Classrooms
- Helping Children Learn to Love the Earth (pdf)
- Nature Benefits (pdf)
- Visual-Spatial Defined (pdf)
- Working Hypotheses Research Insights (pdf)
- More research and collaborations
Outdoor Classroom Activities
- Nature Explore Families’ Club Kit:
- Look-Move-Build-Sketch Model (pdf)
- Moving to Learn: Movement Activities (pdf)
Resources from Our Partners
- Exchange Every Day, a free daily message from our partners at Exchange Press
- Wonder, the Nature Newsletter – a project of the World Forum Foundation and Exchange Press
- Write for Wonder—share your own stories with readers of Exchange magazine
- Environmental Action Tool Kit – from the World Forum Foundation (in English, Spanish and Arabic)
- Project Learning Tree
- US Forest Service Conservation Education
- Connect with Nature Explore on social media – see links below
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