Outside Works

 Learning in and from the world around us

Guiding principles:

Quest for Knowledge: Students will gain the skills to observe and understand the world with a sense of curiosity and wonder.

Connecting to Place: Students will explore natural and cultural heritages through excursions and field research.
Belonging: Students will develop an active awareness of communities, from the classroom to the world.
Agency: Students will develop a positive sense of self and actively contribute to their natural and human communities.

Outside Works is a developmental continuum of learning experiences outside the classroom.  Through excursions and field research we foster a connection to place, beginning with our school and expanding to the world.  Exploring natural and cultural heritages we help students understand the relationship between them and how they shape our lives.

In kindergarten, we begin with an emphasis on here and now, progressing to learning about long ago and far away as students grow.  Lessons often go out of the classroom and into the world around us, while the classroom provides the space for reflection, deeper investigation and sharing of the experience.

Learning in and from the world around us is supported by strong relationships with various community individuals and organizations.  Teachers get children outside and understanding where they are, which affects who they are and helps shape who they become.  Themed studies and interdisciplinary projects provide the integration of curriculum in interactive and engaging ways.  Students regularly carry out independent studies, as well as reflect on and assess their own accomplishments within the Realms of Learning.

We encourage students to be creative and express themselves, building a sense of agency to help them grow into a sense of environmental and civic responsibility. It’s not just schools that are seeing the benefit of learning from the world around us. Many corporates, and especially young startups, are using the outdoors as a way to get away from their workspace in the city and out into the open and learn to work together in a natural, non-sanitized environment.

Outside Works Continuum

Hogback Day

Hogback Day gives us a chance for the whole school to explore the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area. Many community members loaned their expertise and love of nature to lead sessions on bird of prey, orienteering, trail-scouting, kite-building, nature art, and more. In the afternoon, students participated in the local history quest written by the third and fourth graders and also played outdoor games, hiked, and climbed the fire tower.

Vernal Pools Monitoring with Junior High
The Junior High identified vernal pools in the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, counted amphibian egg masses, and completed citizen scientist data sheets. The Junior High will repeat this project every spring. By doing so, students are helping to meet a need expressed by the HMCA for a natural resource inventory.

Hogback Field Guide Posters with David’s class

The 5/ 6 class completed detailed field guides of their chosen plots in the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area. However, the class wanted to ensure their work reached a real audience. In a week-long project, they voted on a project of their choice (making interpretive signs for the trail heads) and learned about community service, graphic design, trail building, and writing for different audiences.



Local History with Erica’s class
With the help of the Marlboro Historical Society and many community members, students dove into a local history and mapping unit. Activities included: drawing their own renditions of a neighborhood mp, connecting the maps to create a big map, using inquiry and powers of observation with local historical objects and a local cemetery, visiting the town office, researching Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, and writing a quest.