Tennessee Teacher Starts Classroom on Lake at Family Farm to Promote Outdoor Learning

by Matthew Wilson

A Tennessee teacher is taking learning out of the classroom and into the great outdoors. The teacher is starting a school on a lake at her family farm to promote a great understanding of nature.

Dr. Jean Lomino opened the Nature Kin Farm and Forest School for its first year. Classes will kick off on Thursday, August 12 for an unorthodox but potentially rewarding way of learning. The school is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and will teach students, age 9 to 11.

The curriculum includes what you would find in most schools such as science, business, language, math, and history classes. But Lomino also wants to teach an increased focus on the outdoors in Tennessee as well. She plans to teach animal husbandry, student-led explorations and also gardening.

“The school is located on the 50-acre, Rowell family farm at Lookout Lake that includes wetlands, creek, forests, meadows, and a lake, making it an ideal outdoor classroom/STEM laboratory,” Lomino told FOX News. “The forest school philosophy is based on the fact that nature provides the context for all learning and provides meaningful, holistic, and real-life experiences.”

Currently, Lomino’s Tennessee school already has 12 full-time students. She also said there are also about 12 students for her half-day courses as well. Lomino also caters to older high school students as well, teaching between the ages of 12 to 17.

Lomino started the school because she wanted youth to embrace the nature around them. That’s something that we at Outsider can understand. Additional survival skills will help students in life. After all, you never know where your resolve may be tested. Lomino wants her students to enjoy the little things in life.

Tennessee Teacher’s Philosophy on Learning

Learning can take place anywhere. That’s what Lomino believes and so far, it’s served her well. For the Tennessee teacher, she wants her students to embrace their creative sides and put their smarts to a practical level.

“In my teaching experiences over my 50-year career, I know that children are more focused, more responsive and joyful when they learn in nature. I believe that occurs because there are no walls around them and no ceiling above. Their spirits soar. They are more observant, creative, curious and ready to learn,” Lomino said.

Lomino believes that she’s just the start of a trend that will continue. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools moved to online learning. Likewise, some became interested in teaching in the great outdoors instead.

“The pandemic created a surge of interest because school could no longer exist as it always has,” Lomino said. “Being inside a classroom was not a safe place to be, but taking children outside was a safer place to be. As teachers, parents and administrators began to see the many benefits of this kind of learning experience for children, more and more schools adopted an outdoor education model.”