Discover Forest School STEAM Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom

Three elementary school aged children viewing something on the forest floor with a magnifying glass, representing Forest School STEAM Program held at the University of San Diego

Unfortunately we are not accepting enrollments for this program at this time, please email Caroline Baillie at if you would like to be kept informed of future offerings.

This unique two-course program, designed for K-6 teachers, introduces the Forest School's approach to nature-based learning across the whole curriculum, but specifically for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) instruction. Forest School pedagogy delivers learning in an outdoor natural setting and includes hands-on experiences for students that supports learning, development and confidence. This program includes a two-day nature immersion excursion in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, San Diego.*

The courses represent equivalency with UK Forest School Leader 3 training, while aligning to learning outcomes across the U.S.'s K-6 curriculum.  The program is taught by USD's Shiley Marcos School of Engineering's Professor Caroline Baillie, Engineer, STEAM educator and Forest School Leader.  Courses can be taken together or individually.

As we are faced with COVID-19 restrictions and the need for safety, Forest School teaching is a healthy alternative to teaching indoors.  Consider conducting student learning outdoors in the natural environment to allow for greater social distancing and the abundance of fresh air for your students. 

*If students are unable to include the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park experience, we recommend that they contact the Instructor of the course prior to enrolling to make alternate arrangements. If COVID-19 restrictions are in place, the instructor will create an alternate remote arrangement in lieu of the outdoor experience. If there are group enrollments from a single school site, special arrangements for an alternate nature immersion can be made by contacting the instructor ahead of time.

Who Should Attend

Grade K-6 teachers and administrators who want to learn more about and practice the Forest School approach with STEAM teaching, while including a holistic outdoor focus for student learning.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to regulations from the U.S. Department of Education, the University of San Diego is unable to enroll students in its online programs who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. This restriction does not apply to applicants interested in a campus-based program.

Program Details

Enroll in one or more courses in this program to earn graduate level extension credits.  Successfully complete both EDU-X795R and EDU-X796R for a completion verification award.

You can expect the following from these online courses:

  • Online activities, discussion and meetings with instructor
  • Two-Day Outdoor Immersion (in person) for the EDU-X795R course
  • Assessments include a Learning Journal and Portfolio (EDU-X795R) and developing a Forest School Handbook, implementing your Forest School STEAM practicum with guidance from instructor, including observation and feedback at your program progresses (EDU-X796R).

See each course page for required materials

  • Discover how Forest School training integrated with STEAM teaching can provide a holistic learning experience for students
  • Create customized curriculum that is Forest School/STEAM-based for your students
  • Implement a successful Forest School/STEAM program with students from careful planning and management

Additional Details

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