This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.

Education Outdoors

Children are born scientists; they love to explore and experiment in our natural world. Green spaces inspire them to think, question, and test hypotheses. Indeed, nature is an endless laboratory… and the greatest teacher.

Nurturing in Nature

We believe our educational environment should foster and support the holistic wellbeing of our school community. It is well-known that spending time in nature is linked to cognitive, physical, and psychological benefits, and so, as often as possible, Valley School students are outside soaking up sunshine, splashing in Linn Run, and breathing fresh air!

In fact, our 400-acre woodland campus is an extension of our classrooms. Children at Valley School are fortunate to spend a lot of time learning, working, and playing outside. Not only do they receive several outdoor recesses each day—even during winter months—they also spend class and extracurricular time immersed in nature:

  • Lower School Super Scientists study ecosystems in the Magic Forest. 
  • Kindergarteners practice spatial awareness with exercises on the playground.
  • 1st-graders investigate their senses in our outdoor classrooms.
  • 2nd-grade authors compose stories inspired by the forest. 
  • 3rd-grade artists sketch stream-side.
  • 4th-graders calculate the ages of trees in our forest by using Pi. 
  • Upper School athletes sprint the trails through our woods to practice on four gorgeous playing fields.
  • 5th-graders spend weeks learning about and building shelters for their Settlement Project. 
  • 6th-grade students monitor stream health through biodiversity studies of Linn Run.
  • 7th-grade spends a week on Wallops Island, VA learning about coastal ecology.
  • 8th graders camp in Caledonia State Park during their trip to the battlefields of Gettysburg.

Through everyday activities and extra-special projects, Valley School aims to help children connect with our natural world. It’s not just a matter of benefitting our current students; we’ve got our future generations in mind, too. When children grow up spending time in nature, they are more apt to respect the planet and become environmentally conscious citizens who are passionate about caring for the earth.

What are the benefits of time spent in nature?

  • Replenishes cognitive resources
  • Promotes calm
  • Alleviates stress 
  • Elevates mood
  • Restores attentional capacity 
  • Enhances immune system function
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Lessens feelings of isolation
  • Incites curiosity
  • Encourages creativity 
  • Improves mental clarity
  • Builds confidence
  • Teaches responsibility & self-management
  • Sparks bravery
  • Stimulates imagination
  • Reduces screen time

Richard Louv

"Nature is not only nice to have, it's a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function."

Want to know more about the activities that take place at Valley School?

Valley School of Ligonier

Address: 153 Lupine Lane, Rector PA 15677
Mail: PO Box 616 Ligonier, PA 15658
Phone: (724) 238-6652  Fax: (724) 238-6838
In an environment that is safe, challenging, nurturing, and disciplined, Valley School provides a balanced and strong program of study for a diverse group of children. Our goal is to stimulate in each young person lifelong habits of moral behavior, seeking wisdom, and doing good works for others.
© Valley School of Ligonier. All Rights Reserved.