What is Outdoor Education


What is Outdoor Ed?

Outdoor Education (OE) programs provide hands-on education experiences to students. Also known as environmental education, these programs focus on hard science skills that are difficult to learn from a textbook or within the confines of a classroom.

  • Observation skills.
  • Forming hypotheses and testing theories.
  • Getting hands-on with water, mud, leaves, fur and other nature elements.
  • Recording findings.

Yet Outdoor Ed is more than science. It provides a natural environment for students to demonstrate core skills and apply previous classroom knowledge, often effortlessly and without their realizing that their skills and knowledge are being evaluated.

  • Reading and following directions.
  • Using mathematics, making comparisons and estimations.
  • Use of language arts to describe what they see and self-expression through creative writing.

In addition, students have opportunity to practice soft-skills not covered in other curriculum - especially during longer OE events.

  • Independence and care for self and personal belongings
  • Living in a community environment.
  • Working through differences and personal conflict.
  • Building relationships and team formation with others outside their "friend" group.
  • Putting the care and concern for others above personal desires
  • Learning through outdoor play.
  • For our parochial schools, opportunities to connect Bible knowledge with nature, and to grow closer to Jesus and the God of Creation.

OE Options

Walcamp's OE programs are based on our main campus and primarily serve schools within Northern Illinois. We also have schools attend from southern Wisconsin and from eastern Iowa.

We offer several different Outdoor Ed formats to best fit the needs of your students and faculty.

  • Activities can be run by Walcamp instructors, with your teachers and chaperones providing supervision.
  • Or, we provide the space and your teachers provide instruction for your students. Some activities may still require a Walcamp staff member (archery, canoeing, etc.).

  • One-day "field trip" option. This is a great introduction to outdoor education or for a short change of pace to your classroom setting. Ideal for younger students and for those experiencing an outdoor learning environment for the first time.
  • Three-day on-site learning. Our most popular choice with schools, this options provides a brief immersion into nature exploration and growth as an individual within their community. Ideal for classrooms from 5th grade and above.
  • Full-week on-site learning.
  • "Retreat in a Box." Several classroom teachers rent our space to run their own curriculum with their own equipment. Some activities still require a Walcamp instructor for safety.
  • Nature Quest. We bring our classroom to you! Our instructors visit your location to bring nature activities to your students. An ideal option for introducing students and parents to OE and to our team. It is also a great option to excite students before they arrive at camp, or to follow up with an OE experience after returning home. We have also visited PTA meetings and "open houses" to help answer parents' questions about our camp learning experiences.