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KSS Outdoor Education Core Competencies

Keystone Science School is well known for our exceptional programming. We collaborate with teachers to customize each program based on their goals for their students. Our wide variety of curriculum themes can be shaped to create a cohesive program. All our programs are place-based and we strive to create a unique and memorable experience that cannot be facilitated in a traditional classroom. Every KSS program aims to change lives and strengthen communities.

Each of our programs contains elements of environmental science, social-emotional learning, community building, and outdoor experience. Regardless of the curriculum theme, students will be in small groups (no more than 13) with one KSS Instructor and at least one chaperone. Each small group will go out on a separate trail for their field day, where they will engage with the curriculum in an outdoor classroom.

Environmental Science

environmental scienceStudents will study standards-based environmental science topics through engaging place-based activities. We strive to create a unique and memorable experience that cannot be facilitated in a traditional classroom. These activities are designed to be an enrichment to science that teachers teach in their classrooms. Groups may choose one environmental science topic, and can rank sub-topics based on preference.

Many of our topics can be delivered through two different teaching styles: exploration or environmental issue. In the exploration approach, students explore the curriculum topic through sensory-based activities, engaging games, and inquiry-based learning.

In the environmental issue approach, students study the curriculum topic through the lens of a stakeholder. Acting as their stakeholder, students discuss the issues and come together at the end of the program for a "Town Hall Meeting" to open a dialogue, collaborate, and offer solutions to their issue. This program teaches students to think critically and collaborate as opposed to compete in order to solve a challenging environmental issue facing their community.

Outdoor Experience

outdoor exploration 2Students will use all of their senses to discover the natural environment around them through games, guided exploration, and self-reflection with the goal of fostering a greater appreciation for the natural world. KSS instructors will help students become more comfortable in the outdoors in an inclusive and supportive environment.

KSS Instructors will naturalize on trail, tailor their teaching to students’ interests, and take advantage of “nature moments”. Students will have the opportunity to unplug, slow down, and enjoy being present in nature. Groups can also prioritize a challenge hike, where students will push themselves outside of their comfort zones on difficult hikes in beautiful locations.

Social-Emotional Learning & Community Building

social emotional 2Students will learn about themselves and their peers through social-emotional learning and community-building activities. Students will build character and connections.

Students will engage in team challenges and games and reflect on emotions, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills through guided discussions. This theme also aims to break down differences among students, enabling them to better appreciate commonalities and respect differences.

Students will work together on fun activities while learning to reduce biases and cliques that commonly develop in schools. This theme bonds students closer together through a shared experience and has a lasting effect on students, even when back in the classroom.