Outdoor School

The Benefits of Teaching Kids in Nature

By Courtney Daly-Pavone June 22, 2018

Have you heard of Wild Schooling? It refers to teaching children outside and eliminating the four walls of the classroom.  Wild Schooling started in Europe and has spread to the United States. Outdoor schools are popping up right here in San Diego.  What are the benefits of Wild Schooling? Kids are engaged in their studies when they can touch and feel what they are learning.  A lot of classroom behavioral issues disappear outside when kids aren't confined to four walls, and forced to still eight hours a day.  They are free to play and learn the way humans were supposed to function, outside and moving. My child attended an outdoor preschool where I also volunteered, and we both have fond memories of glorious San Diego days at the park and beach where children did crafts and had circle time, but also explored their surroundings, and felt some independence.

Tinkergarten offers outdoor classes for children ages one to eight-years-old at area parks around San Diego.  The classes encourage independent exploration and play-based activities.  According to Tinkergarten, these are the keys to developing self-reliance, creativity, and persistence. Outdoor classes help children develop, grow, and better prepare, while they enjoy fun, engaging experiences in the physical freedom of their local green space.  I dropped in on a Tinkergarten class at the Lake Murray Playground where children sat at circle time underneath a shady tree and listened attentively to a story being read by their teacher while sipping tea.  They were calm, happy, and friendships were abound. 

City College and Mesa College also offer free Outdoor Classes for children ages two to five throughout the year at area parks around San Diego.  It's a great opportunity for children to make friendships, and for parents to connect, and learn about parks and resources available to them in San Diego.

When I enrolled my child in an Outdoor school years ago I did get my fair share of criticism.  "That's not a real preschool," "You have to learn to sit still indoors sometime,"  I beg to differ, since he not only developed a love of literature, music, and fine motor skills through crafts, storytime, and circle time, but a love of nature and his connection to the outside world.  Most of all he was happy, as most people are when they are in the sunshine!

Links to Outdoor Schools in San Diego: 

Tinkergarten- Classes in San Diego Surrounding Area Parks Ages 1-8.  There are also Volunteer & Leader Opportunities Available Visit:

Mesa College Free Outdoor Classes for Preschool & Kinder Age Kids All Year Long! Visit:

The Native School- Preschool & Kinder Classes take place in Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Local Farms Visit:

All Friends Nature School Preschool/Kinder Ages 3-6 Visit:

Join Macaroni Kid it's Free! Visit:;emailAddress=undefined