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What is the LEAF School Grounds program?

Viewing school grounds as part of the larger urban forest, the program serves as a resource for Wisconsin schools seeking ways to use their school grounds as outdoor teaching sites. The program was designed to help teachers discover teaching and learning opportunities that exist right outside the school doors. Whether a school site is in need of just being used or needs an overhaul, the program has resources and tips on how to “Open the door and step outside.”

Step Outside

Wausau Area Montessori teachers have found that periodically moving the classroom outside has increased students’ interest in math, reading, and English.

Enhance Your Site

D. C. Everest Middle School’s prairie restoration provides more than just beauty. It provides a great opportunity to teach outside the school building.

Develop Your Site

Berlin High School’s site development has provided immeasurable learning opportunities for its students.

School Grounds Support

In-Services & Workshops

LEAF’s expert staff will come to your school, help you assess your site, and determine how best to use your site to teach and learn. To Request an in-service or workshop, please complete this form:


LEAF’s School Grounds Program offers K-12 Lessons and Activities for Outdoor Education from LEAF Lesson Guides and the LEAF School Grounds Activities Collection. Using these lessons, students can explore wooded areas or their school grounds and participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Resources and Research

Studies have shown that students’ performance and development improve when they learn in and about the outdoors. LEAF’s School Grounds Program offers hands-on materials, grants, and more to help educators encourage students to step outside their school buildings and learn more about their school grounds.

Jonathan Ismail
School Grounds Specialist

Contact Jonathan Ismail with any school grounds and outdoor education related inquiries. Jonathan can be re​ached at ​715-346-3229 or​.