The state made famous by Boston also has an incredible variety of landscapes outside the city. Massachusetts provides kids with an ideal location for outdoor education with ample forests, coastal shores, and rolling hills. Nature is on full display in this beautiful example of what the northeast has to offer.
In a world where kids are always connected, forest schools can connect children with the natural world and with themselves in the process. There are many attractive outdoor education schools available for kids in Massachusetts, and the following is a list of the best choices.
Address: 79 White Rock Rd, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675
Type: School Program & Field Trips
Located in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, Cody Outdoor Classroom is situated in the heart of Cape Cod in Yarmouth Port, MA. The proximity to Cape Cod and the surrounding area provides a great place for kids to explore coastal landscapes. Over 44 acres of forest, ponds, fields, and bogs are part of every classroom experience.
Classes at Cody Outdoor Classroom teach visitors biology, ecology, and physics. Through these lessons, children gain wilderness and leadership skills that are useful in everyday life. Between courses, children have the chance to go on optional excursions, which include visiting Chapin Memorial Beach, the Cape Cod National Seashore, and even go whale watching.
When kids aren’t immersed in learning, they’ll have scheduled free time periods to enjoy their time as they see fit. They can play sports to stay active or just relax in the cabin. The modern cabins are fully electric with heating abilities, and a staff member stays with them at all times.
A full five-day week of classes is available to kids from elementary through high school. If you’re from a school and looking for the next place to hold your field trip, Cody Outdoor Classroom is a perfect choice!
Address: Charlton, Massachusetts
Type: Field Trips
Since 1973, Nature’s Classroom has offered children outdoor adventures in two locations in Charlton, Massachusetts. Nature’s Classroom offers three and five-day programs to children from 3rd to 8th grade.
Children have a schedule that includes field group studies about different topics. This includes investigating different aquatic environments and ecosystems in the streams and ponds throughout the property. The studies allow children to work with a group, learn the value of teamwork, and observe a variety of local plants and animals.
Special academic classes are part of every day and include physics, anatomy, math, and geometry. These classes allow children to do things like build water rockets, participate in animal dissections, and build a geodesic dome. Class availability is based on student choice and instructor specialties.
This area of Massachusetts allows kids to experience dense forests, pristine lakes, and open fields.
Address: 100 Bedford Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773
Grades: Pre K-8th
Type: Private School
Birches School is a nature-based school for students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade in Lincoln. They believe in making learning joyful for children with a goal to improve their critical thinking, build empathy, and teach students to be mindful.
At Birches, students learn in harmony with the natural world. Their multi-age classrooms are rich in thematic, integrated learning. Co-curricular activities are a strong core of their education, and throughout all the grades, students participate in yoga, art, music, and much more. Located on four acres of private woodlands and adjacent to acres of conservation land, Birches students work, investigate and play in nature every day in all grades.
The teachers consistently meet with the students to ensure their needs are met. The community is intentionally small, so that every child is seen, heard and known. They also have an after-school program that teaches students additional outdoor skills like cooking over a fire, flora identification, and more. Birches graduates go on to thrive academically and socially in their next schools.
To apply, submit an inquiry, written application with previous teacher assessments and meet with them in person. Priority application deadline is January 15, 2024.
Address: 396 Moose Hill St, Sharon, MA 02067
Type: Private School
The Cooperative Nature School is located on the 347-acre Moose Hill Farm in Sharon, Massachusetts. Moose Hill Farm is home to vernal pools, rare plants, endangered animals, and a large, diverse wetland. Children will find no shortage of things to explore and experience here.
Young explorers are encouraged to become an active part of the world they live in and help to conserve it for the future. This is accomplished by providing child-centered, nature-based education. The curriculum includes language, mathematics, arts, science and technology, and much more.
When children attend classes, they can embrace their natural curiosity and get to be a part of a community of like minds through their active learning.
The Cooperative Nature School is for kids between the ages of 3 and 5 and features year-round programs, including a summer camp that lasts four weeks.
Address: 38 Algerine St, Berkley, MA 02779
Type: Private School
The school year programs by Outdoor Woodland Learners allow children to learn about nature in the beautiful forest landscape in Berkley, Massachusetts.
Children can be themselves at Outdoor Woodland Learners with ample amounts of unstructured playtime. This playtime is part of the approach they use to connect every child with the natural world, one another, and themselves.
Traditional courses such as mathematics, language arts, and geography are offered alongside all of the time kids get to spend in nature. The connection between children and the environment is fostered and nurtured.
Programs are available for an entire school year in three and five-day options. The three programs available are Elf Owls for those 3-5, Kinder Owls for five to six-year-olds, and OWLmentary for kids 6+. Group sizes are small to provide kids with the kind of direct attention they need to grow.
Address: National Park, Boston, Quincy, MA 02171
Type: School Program
Outward Bound Education Center has eleven locations throughout the country, including this terrific option on Thompson Island in Massachusetts. Thompson Island is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and gives kids the chance to gain experiential learning in a truly unique setting.
The educational approach at the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center is comprehensive, as kids learn through experience and intentional reflection. They get outside of their comfort zone in an environment that challenges them. Through these challenges, they can enjoy a supportive atmosphere that provides physical and emotional safety.
There is a STEM-focused program that works with the natural environment and offers real-world applications for their curriculum of study. The program aligns with Next Generation Science Standards.
There are several opportunities offered by the education center. These include the Connections program for middle school students, the Green Ambassadors program for high schoolers, and the Discovery program for kids between 5th and 12th grade.