Outdoor, Experiential, and Ecological Education
Promoting engagement, enjoyment, and exploration.
The term ‘OE3′ originated with Dr. Tom Puk at Lakehead University.
The OE3 program has been designed to make the best use of the students’ natural, active dispositions and to sustain meaningful engagement. Our programs provide practical, hands-on activities are designed to compliment and enhance theory-based instruction. The exploratory and immersive nature of OE3 naturally appeals to different blends of learning styles. The program promotes interactive learning, offers students new experiences, and encourages innovative teaching methods.
Research has demonstrated that students believe that integrated outdoor, experiential, and ecological education (OE3) programs provide an valuable alternative to the conventional model for the development of 21st-century skills. Curriculua-linked, nature-connected education has the potential to nurture the core competencies required for academic, physical, and psychological wellbeing in the competitive and challenging future.
In addition to the Western traditions of knowledge development, the influence of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Slow Pedagogy have inspired various aspects of our OE3 program and supported key decisions in planning. Experiential education requires us to be in a place to learn what it has to teach, so we take students to where knowledge and learning are most naturally engaged.
Ecological Literacy is an often overlooked core competency for life in the 21st-century and IteratED offers courses in Ecological Systems to ensure our students have the opportunity to engage with what we believe a critical perspectives.
Four points generally provide the guiding premises for this type of program; we would add a fifth. They are:
The skill sets required for a successful life in the 21st century are generally focused on creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.
Over emphasis on digitally-focused teaching may overshadow the time-tested effectiveness of OE3 in developing these same skill sets.
Research by social psychologists, neurobiologists, health professionals, and educators has shown that time spent in nature improves psychological, physical and social wellbeing.
Experiential, hands-on learning increases both student and teacher satisfaction with the educational experience. This includes improved retention of information, decreased instances of misbehaviour, and promotion of comprehension through self-expression.
It is fun.
We guide students towards success by supporting their passions, providing enriching experiences, and inspiring wonder and a love of learning. OE3 is a significant pathway by which our students will distinguish themselves as citizens of character.