School Field Trips

Learning and Connecting through Play

At Out to Play we offer field trips for classes Kindergarten to Grade 6. All programs follow the Forest and Nature School approach to learning – child-centred, inquiry-driven, emergent learning and connecting through play on the land.

What to expect on a field trip to the Out to Play Centre

An educator meets the school bus, introduces themselves and leads your class and volunteers down the trail to the Out to Play Centre. The children settle in around the fire at the circle and listen to the land acknowledgment and opening story. They’ll share their observations, hear a few guidelines and be invited to go play.

Loose parts are laid out, big wooden planks and paint and canvas, a book nook, baskets and nature ID cards.  The children settle into play with the support of Out to Play educators and your volunteers.

Each class hikes out to play space in the forest. Our pedagogy values risky play and our educators support play on the slacklines, running games and tree-climbing, amidst all the different kinds of play. In warm weather with older groups, the hike might take us down to the river and the learning might include investigating different creatures in and around the shoreline of the Ottawa river. 

To hold space for quiet and reflection we’ll aim to include a sit spot in each day, and if it’s snowy weather, a flopspot! The children hear an introduction to quiet and settle them, and they’re invited to find a space that calls to them and to settle in. It is sometimes only a minute, and sometimes a few minutes depending on how they settle. They’ll return to share what they heard and what they saw on the land.

Each day ends with a closing circle around the fire where children are invited to share their favourite part of the day. And then together we thank the land and wander back to the bus.

How to book a field trip

We honour the value of building a relationship with the land and ask that teachers plan for 3 to 6 sessions. Over those weeks, we return to the same spaces on the land. The children hear different stories each day, they develop their ability to engage in the sit spot for longer, and we watch their learning, play and confidence grow.

Most schools aim for 10am-2pm for the session on the land, which allows time for children to arrive to school, get organized and on the bus. And enough time at the end of the day to arrive back and get sorted before home time. 

The learning at Out to Play and through the Forest and Nature School approach is rooted in the same foundational principles of How Does Learning Happen. The experience at Out to Play centres belonging with each other and with the land; it honours our own and each other’s physical and mental well-being; accepts and celebrates expression in all its forms, and asks that we are engaged in connection with each other and our own learning.

The cost for field trips in the 2023-2024 school year is $730.00 for the first session for two classes (or up to 60 children), and $650.00 for remaining sessions, plus HST. This booking includes the offer of an orientation session at your school where teachers and parents can ask questions about the experience. Please inquire if you’re interested in a field trip for just one class.

We also offer professional development for teachers

Are you looking to build confidence in taking your classes on the land? We also offer Forest and Nature School experiences at your school. We are experienced in consulting with administration and/or mentoring teachers. We can help you become more confident taking the learning outside, and trusting emergent inquiry-based learning. Email for more information.