Living Classroom

Engaging youth through hands-on learning is one of the most successful means of fostering an appreciation of the natural environment. 

introductory photo

Living Classroom is a pre-K to sixth-grade STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program that brings the great outdoors into the classroom, utilizing the natural shoreline for hands-on experiential learning.

Each session is focused on a specific topic, designed for pre-K to sixth-grade classes, involves hands-on activities to actively engage learners, and meets New York State Department of Education common core standards.
  • All classes are 75 minutes and taught by experienced RISE educators.
  • All classes are conducted during the regular school day at RISE, situated a block from the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay, where there is an abundance of natural resources to explore.
  • Programming is FREE to all Rockaway public schools. Minimum program fee for private schools, charters, or public schools outside the Rockaway peninsula. (See rates below.)

Class field trips are offered every Wednesday and Thursday, January through May, at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. BOOK HERE on Explorable Places.

RISE is currently offering the following classes:

There is nowhere in New York City as diverse as the fishing piers and beaches of Far Rockaway, where fishers from all over the world come together at the water's edge. Many local fishers use cast nets, an ancient fishing technique with a long history in Guyana, to catch fish on Jamaica Bay. This hands-on workshop teaches students about the history of Guyanese fishing and some of the crafts and skills that go into it. Students will learn about Guyanese cast net fishing, its history, the art of making the nets, and their current day use in the Rockaways. Students will practice casting a net and get the chance to learn basic knots. All students will leave the workshop with their own knot bracelet and instruction guide. This class will take place at RISE (58-03 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Far Rockaway, NY 11692).

This class will focus on the ecosystems that surround coastal communities. Students will learn about the animals and plants that can be found in and around the oceans and bays in coastal areas like the Rockaways, including oysters, dune plants, fish, and sharks. After a brief discussion inside, students will get the opportunity to explore those wildlife communities. Activity dependent on tide, weather, and season.This class will take place at RISE (58-03 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Far Rockaway, NY 11692).

This class will focus on native shorebirds and their importance to the well-being of the ecosystem. Emphasis will be placed on native avian fauna of the Rockaways. Students will learn the basics of bird identification and behavior, as well as how to use binoculars, before they head outside to try their skills on the boardwalk, where they will get the chance to see a variety of different birds and work on a collaborative project. Each workshop involves hands-on activities outdoors. This class will take place at the new Arverne East Welcome Center (190 Beach 44th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691).


Includes instruction and class supplies for each student.

  • All classes for Rockaway public schools are FREE!
  • Pricing for public schools outside the Rockaways is $10 per student; maximum 30 students. Groups with less than 25 students cost a flat rate of $250.
  • Pricing for private school groups is $15 per student; maximum 30 students. Groups with less than 25 students cost a flat rate of $375.
  • Homeschool groups should e-mail for pricing.