Especially designed for individuals and small group: November 1, 2018
What better way to celebrate outdoor learning than at an environmental education center with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Join the Claytor Nature Center and Sweet Briar College in celebrating International Outdoor Classroom Day on November 1. We are planning an exciting set of morning (9:30-11:30 a.m.) and afternoon (12:30-2:30 p.m.) sessions that span a range of topics for all age groups! Be it science, history, theater, math, or dance, your day is all outside and ready to give you a fresh look at the world! Bring a lunch and munch under the pavilion or on the lawn, and stick around to play in Otter Space, our fenced nature play space!
Parents can sign up their own kids, or group leaders can sign up kids en masse. Simply register and pay for your child(ren) to attend the appropriate age program (preK – 12). Space is limited, so register early to ensure your spot! The cost is $5/participating child. Register by October 1 to receive a special Claytor Nature goodie bag!
Activities are located at the Claytor Nature Center at 1844 Woods Rd, Bedford, VA 24523.
Inquiries about the event can be sent to CNC Education Coordinator Danielle Racke, .
- Choose a morning or an afternoon session.
- If you are registering a child or children for a single grade band, you can use one of our Buy Now buttons below, or register through our form.
- If you are registering multiple children in multiple grade bands, the simplest method is to register through our form, here: International Outdoor Classrom Day form
- Questions? Please email CNC Education Coordinator Danielle Racke, .
Register for a morning session: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Register for an afternoon session: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!
What’s the difference between the morning and afternoon sessions?
The planned activities for each session will be the same. The only things that will differ are the time of day and the participants themselves!
Can kids who are at the margin of a higher grade level join the older kids?
We set age bands to make sure that we will be able to do activities and teach to a level that will engage all participating students. Therefore, while we can be flexible with where you register your child, we request that you keep in mind our overarching goals of delivering age-appropriate activities. We also reserve the right to relocate your child to a different group, if we think he or she is inappropriately placed. For example, we would generally be inclined to relocate a five year old who has been registered with the ten year olds.
What exactly will our kids be doing?
Honestly, we don’t know yet! Our primary collaborators are an education class at Sweet Briar College who are designing outdoor activities just for you and this day! These are pre-service teachers who have specialties in a range of topics, so your kids may wind up exploring anything from science, to math, to dance, to music, but whatever they do, it will all be outside and applicable to exploring and appreciating our natural environments!
Will you be pushing curricula regarding evolution?
We are an environmental education center and support the teaching of scientific data that are obtained through physical observation. It is possible that we may mention adaptations or relationships of organisms during the course of an activity. For some topics, it is necessary to mention evolutionary relationships to describe patterns and understand processes we talk about. However, we will not push an evolution-based agenda, and it is up to participants whether or not to follow any particular line of inquiry.
Do we need to stay with our kids?
If you are registering a child in the preK-K grade band, please plan to stay with him/her or arrange for another adult who can. We ask that any overseeing chaperones NOT also be overseeing infants or children in strollers. Please also refer to “What if I have a stroller?” and “What if I am carrying an infant?”
Can we stay with our kids?
We anticipate that it will not be necessary for you to chaperone your older (first grade and above) kids. However, if you would like to observe, we welcome you to join the adventure, but request that you leave your phones on silent during the activities. If you have a shy child who you think might rather cling to you than participate, we encourage you to consider staying behind and letting him go with his group on his own.
What if I have a stroller?
Many of the locations we will use are accessible to strollers, but some are not. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that activity locations won’t change with the weather, nor that the right age groups will be completely in stroller-accessible locations. Therefore, it is best if participating children can walk short distances on their own or with adult assistance.
What if I am carrying an infant?
We know your kids need your attention – especially the itty-bittys! However because of this, we are not able to consider you as a reliable chaperone if you are attending to a non-participating kid, no matter how well-behaved he or she usually is. Although we are happy to have you shadow your older kids, we respectfully request that you be able to remove yourself if your nonparticipant becomes a distraction to you and the other kids. If you are have kids in the preK – K grade band, please plan to arrange for another adult who can oversee your participating child during the program.
You and your littles are welcome to hang out in Otter Space while your older kids are going through their programs. Otter Space is a fenced, nature play space that includes such exciting features as a dig pit with bones, a mountain of ash stumps, a “groundhog hole,” and an ephemeral creek.
I’m a parent, but I’m letting my children do the activities on their own. What can I do while I wait?
We will have someone on hand who can lead adults on a walk down one or two of our trails.
We may also be able to offer adults of participating kids the opportunity to attend their own educational session, but that will depend upon response and is yet TBD!
Bring a book, a sketchpad, a notebook, a blanket, a chessboard, etc, and hang out on the deck of our ed building, or in the field next to the pavilion while you wait.
What should we bring?
Your lunches, refillable water bottles, and whatever it takes to be comfortable outside! We strongly recommend CLOSED-TOE SHOES or boots, pants, a jacket, a hat, an extra pair of socks or shoes, bugspray, and sunscreen. Sandals and water shoes are not appropriate for our typical programs, even if you bring them for splashing in the river later in the day.
I’d like to register multiple children. Is there a way I can pay only once?
We apologize for the inconvenience of the current payment system and thank you for your patience. If you would like to register multiple children, please fill out this form: and we will send you an invoice within the next one or two business days.
When should we arrive?
Please plan to arrive 20-30 minutes before your session to check in, use the bathrooms, and get oriented. Bring confirmation of your payment with you.