Co-designing Places for Outdoor Learning Facilitation Guide

Design engagements for families, students, teachers, and communities to reimagine schoolyards

The Co-designing Places for Outdoor Learning Facilitation Guide creates a process by which people can co-design outdoor places for field-based science learning on schools grounds. It is only one piece of a much larger ecosystem of materials that are part of the Learning in Places project.

The Design Engagements (DE) guide groups of families, teachers, Community-Based Organizations (non-profits) and community members in collaborative visioning and decision making, called co-design. When outdoor learning places at school are co-designed using multiple cultural and value systems they provide more equitable and sustainable learning opportunities, which each DE discusses.

Design Engagements:

This guide is made up of eight different Design Engagements (DEs) that will inform collective decision making for the design of a new outdoor learning site or the enhancement of an existing site. The activities are listed in this order as they support the development of the corresponding activities.

  1. Histories of Places: think across multiple time scales to consider how the school yard came to be the way it is today and what it could be in the future
  2. Vision and Values Discussion: set a direction for the outdoor learning place
  3. Place Mapping: identify the features of the land that support learning
  4. Rhizome Mapping: re-walk the school grounds together and use the Rhizome as a “lens” to think critically about the places you identified in the place mapping activity
  5. Site Selection Synthesis: reflect on the previous activities to identify a site for outdoor learning
  6. Designing Your Site: create a design for the site and share out with the wider community
  7. Planning for Installation: finalize your design plan and prepare for installation
  8. Sustainability, Decision-Making and Governance: consider how decisions will continue to be made and create a common agreement to support sustainability of the outdoor learning place

Download the entire facilitation guide:

Download Individual Design Engagements:

Suggested Citation

Learning in Places Collaborative. (2021). Co-designing Places for Outdoor Learning Facilitation Guide. Bothell, Seattle, WA & Evanston, Il: Learning in Places.