The Outdoors

beginning and lower school community meeting in the fir grove

The natural world is part of our learning laboratory in every grade, whether it is exploring the 67-acre Catlin Gabel campus or the landscapes of Portland and Oregon.

Each day, students embark on adventures outside – whether it is part of a class or recess. They have access to wooded forests, playgrounds, grassy areas, gardens, and an orchard.

Beginning School: Preschool and Kindergarten

In preschool, students learn about the environment through activities on campus. Each day gives time for exploring the outdoors, through imaginative play in the Fir Grove, to exporations on the forest trails, to picking apples in the orchard. 

Kindergartners explore on and off campus to learn about nature and the environment. They travel to such areas as the Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve, a working farm, and the Sauvie Island bird-watching area.

Lower School: 1st-5th Grades

Students continue to have extensive time outside each day. The Fir Grove is alive with children inventing games, building with sticks and logs, and climbing trees. Students learn about the natural world through explorations to our wooded trails, pond, and tiny forest. They travel off campus to explore local parks, rivers, reservoirs, and farms. Beginning in 2nd grade, students embark on class overnight trips to such sites as the Oregon Coast where they deepen their understanding of how ecosystems change and life forms adapt.