"CalSOL's goal to provide outdoor education for K-12 public schools statewide would enrich the learning experience for all of California's school children."
26th California Superintendent of Public Instruction
WHY IT MATTERS
Outdoor education and the associated benefits should be a right, not a privilege. COVID-19 has reminded us just how essential nature is to our physical and mental health, but has also highlighted the disparities that exist in access to nature.
Students who receive outdoor education programming consistently perform better than their peers who do not in a variety of subjects, including mathematics, language, reading, and science.
Students who participate in outdoor education programming are more engaged in classroom learning and develop better critical thinking and problem solving skills, both of which are important for lifelong learning and career success.
Outdoor education is a simple way to introduce students to the outdoors and encourage future outdoor recreation and physical fitness. Exposure to nature also helps to reduce stress and contributes to greater overall mental health.
Outdoor Education For All
CalSOL exists to advocate for all public school students to have equal access to quality outdoor education. Currently, receiving the benefits of outdoor education is a bit like winning the lottery. If you live in an area that has prioritized these programs, you may be lucky, but rarely will all children receive equal access to outdoor education. Often the children who don’t have access to these programs are the ones with the greatest need for access to nature and the many benefits that come with it.
American nonfiction author and journalist
“In my book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, I wrote: ‘An environment-based education movement—at all levels of education—will help students realize that school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.’ The California Statewide Outdoor Learning (CalSOL) movement can open this portal, not just for the well being of our children’s health and minds, but for the health of our planet. California has the opportunity to be bold and lead the world.”
STEM Teacher on Special Assignment
"Multiple grade levels of students at the Escondido Union School District are experiencing the benefits of outdoor education as they receive nature-based programming from one year to the next, offered by a local conservation consortium. These opportunities are instrumental in promoting science and STEM learning in an engaging manner. Ensuring that all students in any given grade have equitable access to these environmental experiences is essential. I endorse CalSOL because I want what our students are experiencing to be scaled up so that all K-12 students across California can flourish from outdoor learning."