How BEEC and VWS can help
If you are a classroom teacher preparing for the 2020 school re-opening, we recommend you first contact Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC). BEEC specializes in supporting teachers to develop outdoor learning opportunities for their classes.
What is the difference between VWS & BEEC’s offerings?
Contact BEEC if you are looking for guidance on:
- setting up a physical outdoor teaching space
- best practices for teaching outdoors, including:
- outdoor group management strategies
- academic opportunities & curricular connections
- materials lists for teachers and students
- flow of the day templates
Contact VWS if you are looking for guidance on:
- COVID-19 prevention protocols with youth outdoors, including:
- Design & implementation of new protocols
- Outdoor health screening (temperature checks, etc.) processes
- Games and other physical activities that can be done with 6’ distancing
- Community-building or learning activities that can be done with 6’ distancing
Since 1999 the Vermont Wilderness School has offered programs which serve as an alternative to traditional school (such as weekday programs for homeschoolers), or which complement the school year (such as summer camps and weekend programs). We will be expanding these programs in the fall of 2020.
Thanks to donor support for the school reopening effort, VWS outdoor educators are able to provide two free hours of one-on-one consulting to any teacher or school administrator in Windham County and nearby areas during the months of August and September, 2020.
COVID Prevention Strategies
Our staff has experience in adhering to the new COVID-prevention health and safety standards in an outdoor setting, thanks to ten weeks of summer day camps that we are currently running at Ft. Dummer State Park and other sites (for ages 7-12).
Going Deeper with VWS
For a teacher or school wanting to delve deeper into outdoor and nature-based learning, VWS can partner with you to develop a custom program. This typically involves hiring VWS to create a half-day or full-day recurring program, facilitated by our staff. The program could be held on your school grounds or at a natural area within walking distance or short driving distance. In the past few years we have done this with Green Street School, Marlboro Elementary, Putney Central, and others. Developing new partnerships of this sort likely will not be feasible until 2021, given the current high demand for our services. But please do let us know if you are interested.
We also offer teacher training in the Vermont Wilderness School’s nature connection mentoring model. Opportunities include:
- Essentials of Resilient Community. An online workshop series starting in November 2020. The March and May workshops are especially recommended for teachers.
- The Art of Mentoring. A weeklong in-person training, cancelled this summer but returning in August 2021.
- Custom teacher trainings. Recent clients include the Greenfield Center School, Juniper Hill School and Mountain Village Charter School.
Want to take the next step? Fill out this short form to be informed of upcoming developments or request a consulting session with VWS.