Moving Learning Outside during COVID-19

Outdoor spaces can help ANY school improve safety and close the achievement gap COVID has exacerbated.  As part of our #EducationIsOpen campaign, Out Teach has created a practical handbook to help district and school leaders move more learning outside.

Why Move Outdoors?

There is a call from the top-down, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and The American Academy of Pediatrics that schools should utilize the outdoors as much as possible when returning to in-person learning. Not only does outdoor learning improve safety for students, teachers, and school communities, but outdoor instruction is proven to help close the learning gaps that COVID has exacerbated.

Spending time outdoors is proven to drastically decrease the potential for transmission, but few schools have the resources or bandwidth to spend all day outdoors. Fortunately, getting students outside for even a portion of the day can help improve indoor conditions by allowing indoor air more time to ventilate, and giving particles time to settle on cleanable surfaces, reducing the overall indoor viral load.

Learn more

Download the Handbook Intro, FAQ, and Checklist

Checklist for Campus

Moving learning outside can be intimidating, so we break it down piece by piece to help school and district leaders overcome common challenges and give all students and teachers more time outside.  Follow the checklist below to start getting students and teachers more time outside.

•      Decide on desired purpose and frequency of outdoor time
•      Map your space
•      Create a rotation schedule
•      Gather supplies and resources
•      Plan the lessons
•      Recruit volunteers

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

Moving learning outside often raises questions for school leaders, so we answer the most common ones we encounter here.  Download the full FAQ.

•      What kind of space is needed?
•      What about managing logistics?
•      What about the weather and safety?
•      What equipment/ supplies do we need?
•      How can teachers prepare?

Sample Maps and Schedules

We’ve all heard of elite private schools with huge campuses moving learning outside, but ANY school can provide the benefits of outdoor learning, even if it’s just for part of the day.  View our sample campus maps from partner schools, as well as sample schedules to facilitate planning and make taking class outside less daunting.

•      View Sample Maps — Larger CampusSmaller Campus 
•      View Sample Schedules —  Schedule 1Schedule 2  Schedules in Google Sheets

Additional Resources

•      To access our free lesson plans and resources, visit
•      Visit our allies at Green Schoolyards America for more tips on activating schools’ outdoor spaces.
•      Learn how to quickly and inexpensively create outdoor gathering areas


Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.