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I am currently enrolled at Walden University pursuing a doctorate of education degree in teacher leadership, I am about to embark on the dissertation phase of the program. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Art in English, a Master of Education, and I have been an elementary school teacher for seven years in an urban school district.

While considering such ideas as critical thinking, reading comprehension, or the use service learning projects to bridge the achievement gap I realized I did not possess a true passion for these subjects. While running along the Delaware Canal in Bucks County, Pennsylvania I realized that I am happiest when I am outdoors and of all my passions in life, love of nature and the outdoors is one that I would like to inspire in students. Lack of exposure to nature and time spent exploring and playing in nature is something I know that students in urban and suburban schools have in common. My passion for the outdoors complements my philosophy of education, the foundation of which is the works of John Dewey and Howard Gardener. I sincerely believe that children learn best by doing. I would like to focus my research on outdoor learning and I am seeking advice and/or ideas on which direction to focus my research.

After exploring the information available on the C&NN web site, I am thinking along the lines of a mixed methods approach focusing on educators’ perceptions regarding outdoor learning with the aim of either designing professional development for educators on outdoor learning or curriculum development for pre-service teacher courses in outdoor learning. Another area of interest is schoolyard habitats or perhaps public spaces dedicated outdoor learning for use by schools and community members alike.

I would be grateful for any input or guidance regarding current research needs in outdoor learning and the benefit it holds for students.

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I am connected to an elementary school teacher who incorporated nature walks into her weekly schedule. I supported her with ideas to enrich her nature walks.

I also co founded a program called Creatures of Habitat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycwc_4Ly8xg

http://www.peninsulanewsreview.com/news/416847044.html

This program was studied by Royal Roads students and they found that the "hands on learning" component was the best and most valuable part. The program runs now in its 9th year at one day during Earth week in the School District 63 on Vancouver Island 

I am not a teacher but I run a forest school program and I am well connected. I could connect you to the teacher I am working with at the Elementary school or some teachers who are at the middle schools. 

The education I am doing right now is "forest school practitioner" provided by http://childnature.ca/forest-school-canada/  You will find great information there.

Overall to say... this is all Canadian info and you might be more interested in US contacts. There.. I would highly recommend to get in touch with http://www.butterflyhillnaturepreschool.org

Kristen the head of the preschool will start a community school.http://evergreencommunityschool.weebly.com

Might be a great project to observe their path. 

Hope this helped

Susi McMillan.

This is my Forest explorer program for 3 -5 year olds I run through the Recreation centre from our Capital Regional District. 

.. a little glimpse 

Open house slide show
http://play.smilebox.com/SpreadMoreHappy/4e4451304e4449314d7a42384d...
Forest classes slide show 
http://play.smilebox.com/SpreadMoreHappy/4e4451324d4455774e7a5a384d...

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