Regional School District 13

135A Pickett Lane, Durham, CT 06422 | 860.349.7200

Outdoor Education

Regional District 13 has had a formal outdoor education program since 1977. The program primarily serves grades K-6. The primary purpose of the program is to supplement, enrich, and enhance inquiry-based classroom instruction in key curriculum areas by utilizing the natural environment.  Emphasis is on the use of school grounds, state parks, and local conservation areas as outdoor classrooms. Outdoor education field trips span our State, from the ocean to the forests, as students learn about the diverse ecosystems, geographic features, and cultural heritages that characterize their environment. From kindergarten explorations of Portland's cranberry bog to sixth graders' studies of the vernal pools that border Memorial School, District students learn about how they can interact with and learn from the natural world.

Outdoor education program goals include:

  • to foster and promote awareness, respect, and understanding of the natural environment;
  • to better the understanding of the environmental impacts caused by human activities and to look at alternative ways to mitigate impact by laying down a base for bio-ethical decision making;
  • to use the natural environment as an interdisciplinary learning center (especially in the areas of science, language arts, social studies and math);
  • to provide community outreach and serve as a resource to the towns of Durham and Middlefield;
  • ultimately to give our young people the background they will need to understand issues and make responsible decisions concerning the environment as adults.

The Science Specialist, Susan Michael, supports classroom teachers by teaching classroom lessons, facilitating field trips, conducting nature walks on the three elementary nature trails, and providing professional development for teachers. Work is also being done to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards and science and engineering practices into the K-5 curriculum.
Our elementary students are especially fortunate to have the use of a nature trail and outdoor classroom at each of the three schools.