Learning outside the classroom walls improves relationships

By Sam Maceli

Learning doesn’t only happen behind the closed doors of a schoolhouse. The outdoors can also be classroom for learning. Shepaug Valley School discovered just that when they participated in Outside Perspectives’ expedition program. These outdoor expeditions improve relationships among peers in a fun and engaging, way leaving them wanting more.

Shepaug Valley School is one of many organizations participating in Outside Perspectives wilderness expeditions. Outside Perspectives is a non profit course and expedition program that provides transformative experiences for youth in the natural environment. The program is run by both Nicola Wood and Shannon Zich. They started the organization with the hope of being able to connect adolescents with nature and build stronger relationships with peers, the community, and school. 

Nicola Wood, the organizations founder says that she has worked with teams, schools and community organizations, and that the program can “use the outdoors as an experience to boost that team.”

There is a lot of research suggesting that the outdoors can be beneficial to youth development. Shannon Zich has discovered that the outdoors can help kids “relate to one another better and find empathy for one another.” She states that “they bond and connect differently and are able to support one another in ways that are really meaningful.”

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