Tallgrass Prairie Center


Getting Started Guide

Getting Started Questions & Guide


The intent of the following questions and information is to get you, the educator, to think about where you are currently in the process of taking your students outdoors and learning in nature.


Questions/prompts regarding your students:

  • Consider printing a tabled class list and make individual notes on who may struggle being outdoors. Create an initial survey for your students asking them about their comfort levels and experiences being outside.
  • Address student fears and concerns directly as a class. Communicate that it is normal and appropriate to have anxiety with aspects of learning that are unfamiliar. Consider establishing a buddy or group system for your kids. 
  • Think about whole group challenges that may exist or present themselves for each class you plan to take outside. 
  • What benefits will be gained by your students as a class/individually?
  • How will you ‘hook’ the students or capture their attention and excitement for learning outdoors?
  • Final thoughts: Think about the preparation involved for your classes. Do you need to visit the area first? What materials will you need? Is parental or administrative support needed? Will I need a backup activity or plan for bad weather?



Questions for you, the teacher:

  • Regarding teaching outdoors, do you have: No experience, some to little experience, or experienced?
  • What aspects of taking your classes outdoors intrigues or excites you?
  • What worries or concerns do you wish to address?
  • What times of year or seasons will be best suited for you and the sequence of your units?          □ Fall         □ Winter     □ Spring 
  • Are there goals in mind for how often you would like to teach outside?    □ Once/season         □ Once/month        □ Once/week        □ Once/day
  • What topics, standards, or units would you like to focus on outdoors? Are there other subjects that could be incorporated into your own while outside?
  • Do you anticipate that your administration will be supportive and why?
  • What are you hoping to achieve or gain personally by taking your class outdoors?