Every day could be an opportunity to explore the benefits of outdoor education.
The outdoors can play an essential part in the learning journey for children of all ages. In the UK, we can experience all four seasons in one day. It’s cold, rainy, and hot. Occasionally, it’s too hot. But that’s the great British weather for you.
The Importance of outdoor education has been highlighted even more since the pandemic hit. We’ve all been forced to spend more time indoors giving us a newfound appreciation for the great outdoors. Embracing the outdoors has been proven to improve creativity, confidence, and overall wellbeing, and not forgetting yours too.
Get a Change of Scenery
The classroom is a safe space. The four walls allow you to keep an eye on everyone easily. But are you simply staying in your comfort zone? Try something new. Outdoor space can inspire students to be creative which is great for Creative Writing and Art. It can also clear their minds and show them that learning is not limited to the classroom, but can take place anywhere.
Learning outdoors is not only beneficial (and fun!), but is an activity that can add true lifetime value. Giving your students some freedom allows them to earn trust from adults and their peers as well as trusting their own judgements, things that are essential to a well-rounded journey into adulthood.
Taking your class outside removes the restrictions of the classroom. Outdoors risks can be managed, but nothing is risk-free. Learning to pick themselves up when they fall, complete tasks independently and how to negotiate unfamiliar environments are all life lessons too. They will also learn boundaries as well as understanding the consequences for not respecting their new learning environment.
Connecting with Nature
“Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualisation and the full use of the senses”
- Richard Louv, Author of Last Child in the Woods
Technology is a great thing. However, it does mean young people and children aren’t experiencing the benefits of being outdoors as much as they were. The introduction of Nature-Friendly Schools by the Wildlife Trust is a great initiative that’s helping schools bring children closer to nature and is part of a £6.4 Million project. Outdoor education gives them the chance to truly connect with nature and allows them to embrace new and exciting ways to learn.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
Not only will teaching outdoor develop collaborative-working, adaptability, and communication skills but it has been proven to benefit overall wellbeing too. A study from the RSPB reported that “contact with nature in childhood promotes children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.” If you’re lucky enough to teach in a setting that’s close to nature, take advantage of it whenever you can. They say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices, so get out there and enjoy it!
How do you incorporate the outdoors into your learning plan? Let us know here. We’d love to hear your ideas so we can share them with the Colmore Community.