Faculty of Education

Queen's University
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FACULTY OF

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Outdoor & Experiential Education

Outdoor & Experiential Education (OEE) is designed to introduce teacher candidates to a wide variety of ways environmental and experiential programs can be offered in various school and community-based settings.

  • Teacher candidates in life jackets.

    A class photo of OEE teacher candidates.

  • Teacher candidates playing guitar.

    Using the arts in an informal setting to build community.

  • Teacher candidates in front of a chalk board in a non-traditional classroom.

    Field trip to a local outdoor education centre.

  • Teacher candidates with backpacks.

    Field trip to the Seed Sanctuary.

  • Teacher candidates on snowshoes pulling a sled.

    Experiencing winter during the school year.

  • Teacher candidates standing with their arms around each other on a log.

    With only 25 in the program each year, teacher candidates form close friendships.

Overview

  • It is offered to Concurrent Education students in their final year as well as Consecutive Education teacher candidates.
  • For both Primary-Junior and Intermediate-Senior teacher candidates.
  • Integrates conventional teacher education with preparation of leading dynamic school and/or community-based outdoor, nature-oriented activities.
  • Explores experiential education theory and hands-on methodologies as they apply to a variety of environmental contexts/all teaching subjects.
  • Teacher candidates complete 20 weeks of placements, including an alternative practicum that can be done outside a school setting and anywhere in the world as long as it is related to the program.
  • Travel fellowships support education-related travel outside Canada such as for alternative practicum placements.
  • Program orientation and field camp is held in August.
  • Emphasizes the development of leadership skills required to implement innovative outdoor and experiential programs through examining the skills required to propose, administer, evaluate and teach such programs.
  • Develops critical thinking skills pertaining to contemporary environmental and educational issues.

For information about program policies and course descriptions, see the Faculty of Education calendar.

Courses & Practicum

The field camp initiates community building for each year of OEE teacher candidates. This initial sense of community is enlarged through classes, additional events and workshops held throughout the rest of the year. In addition to the required curriculum courses of the regular program, all OEE teacher candidates participate in three related environmental and outdoor-focused courses that are unlike other outdoor programs which offer OEE as a single course.

Regular practicum placements mean that you will work alongside other education professionals in classrooms for 20 weeks: one component in the first summer (3 weeks); two components in the fall (3 weeks each); one component in the winter term (4 weeks) followed by an alternative practicum (3 weeks); and one component in the second summer (4 weeks).

One practicum opportunity allows teacher candidates to engage in an established school program in Ontario that utilizes an outdoor/environmental or alternative school setting. Typically these mean a practicum at an outdoor centre, an integrated program or a special youth program like a credited program for youth at risk. The second practicum can be a new outdoor centre or a program of learning designed by teacher candidates to explore a particular interest, such as visiting boat building programs.

For the 3 week alternative practicum, OEE teacher candidates are required to complete an alternative practicum that is in a non-traditional outdoor based setting. You can do the alternative practicum anywhere in the world as long as it is related to your program. We also provide travel fellowships that can help you get there.

Admission Requirements

Selection of Consecutive Education teacher candidates is based on the application requirements in the Teacher Education Application Service (TEAS) Instruction Booklet as well as the supplemental documents submitted to Student Services.

See How to Apply.

Selection of Concurrent Education teacher candidates is based on the application made in December of year 4 (supplemental documents).

For information regarding admission, please contact Student Services.

The OEE Student Community

The OEE program is looking for teacher candidates who can bring to the program unique perspectives and a range of experiences. This allows each year of students to form a community that can interact and learn from each other as they discuss and participate in a broad range of activities.

The program is designed to have teacher candidates’ share their past experiences in the field with each other, then during the year explore and learn about other OEE approaches and the theories and ideas that lead to their development, which they can then incorporate or explore during their OEE practica.

The OEE program is looking for applicants that are dedicated and open minded to exploring their past, sharing ideas about activities and ideas they experience as a class and then engaging in personal reflection time to determine what path through the OEE profession they can envision in their future. Discussed topics and field trips change every year based on student interest/organization, and have included:

  • First Aid/Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • Knitting Clubs
  • Swift Water Rescue
  • Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) - Leadership
  • Aquatic Rescue
  • Ontario Recreation Canoeing Association (ORCA) certifications
  • Interpretive Display Cases
  • Paleo Workshops
  • Mukluk Making
Career Opportunities

Graduates are engaged in a variety of careers ranging from full-time classroom teaching to work in other service, education or environmental areas. Some examples of employment opportunities include:

  • Classroom teaching (public or private school setting).
  • Teaching Abroad.
  • Implementation and integration of innovative education programs.
  • Administrators or directors of camps and independent outdoor programs (e.g., Outward Bound, private eco-tourism lodges).
  • Private OEE programs.
  • Large firms interested in environmentally conscious marketing and sales staff

For further information, see Education Career Services and our Alumni Spotlights.

OEE History

Queen's University has offered outdoor and experiential education courses since the founding of a professional school in 1968. Since these early days, the courses have taken on many forms including open country and personal growth courses, whale boating experiences on Lake Ontario, the development of the first ropes course in Ontario at the barn, Nomads North a canoe-based Outward Bound-style course, Walden II an intentional community, a traveling program in comparative studies of alternative educational programs in the northeastern states, a co-op program and more.

Today the program is exploring the areas of ancestral health and fitness. They are also designing naturalized paleo playgrounds for adults and promoting Forest School awareness.

OEE Testimonials

"OEE was a community, its own little civilization of like-minded yet alternative educators. With differences and similarities, I was able to learn a wealth of knowledge and insight to opportunities that I never would have known existed while being comfortable sharing my own."

Sasja Zanen, OEE 2012

Sasja Zanen


"I would say this program is a perfect option if you are self-directed in your learning, interested in deepening your understanding of experiential and traditional education, and ready to question your own values in a constructive way. If you're open-minded and can learn to take something positive out of an unexpected situation, you have the potential to do well in this program."

Erin Nicolardi, OEE 2012

Erin Nicolardi


"OEE was a fantastic opportunity to meet other teacher candidates from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences. It really opened my eyes to the variety of ways one can teach and experience nature and the outdoors."

Mary-Anne Reid, OEE 2010

Mary-Anne Reid


"OEE proved to me that a career outdoors was not only entirely possible, but there were more opportunities than I had previously thought. I made many connections, both personal and professional that have opened many doors since graduation. The world of OEE is inspiring."

Peter Vooys, OEE 2008

Peter Vooys

Contact Us

Inquiries should be directed via email to Zabe MachEachren​.