Doing More to Encourage Outdoor Learning2 Comments
According to an Ofsted report into learning outside the classroom “when planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development”.
Learning beyond the classroom opens up a whole range of new possibilities, most of which will not be found within the four walls of a classroom. While learning inside a classroom is a tried and tested method of organising schooling there are inevitable restrictions that come with it and additional learning opportunities and diversity that comes with outdoor learning are often lost.
Make learning more engaging
Children have notoriously low attention spans, especially when term is drawing to a close and the weather is at its best. This represents the perfect opportunity to take learning outside of the classroom. Children can have difficulties grasping certain concepts in the classroom but when placed in a real world context they become easier to understand. Outside the classroom children will be able to visualise what they’re being taught which is particularly helpful with subject that require the children to understand concepts of size and space such as when being taught maths and science.
Removing children from the classroom can do wonders for their creativity. If you’re teaching children about the Tudor’s imagine how much more engaged they’d become if the lesson were to be held in a castle. You could combine the visit to the castle with role playing where the children would be asked to act out the roles of historical characters. Upon your return to the classroom those children who acted out the roles will have a better understanding of the characters and what it was like to be alive during this period.
Create an interest in the environment
Allowing children to interact with the natural world is a great way for them to understand more about the environment and their surroundings. Through this they can better understand the importance of looking after the environment and the values of sustainability. Children are naturally inquisitive and by allowing them to explore natural habitats they’ll gain a real world insight into how different creatures coexist in local ecosystems.
Learning outside the classroom should not be limited to just the school grounds. There are plenty of other opportunities such as visits to museums, galleries and wildlife parks that will allow children to visit places they otherwise might not. This will enhance their learning as the children will be exposed to sights and sounds as part of a more visual learning experience.
Promote healthy living
We often hear that our children don’t get the exercise they should so the opportunity to combine outdoor learning with exercise should not be missed. Even if it’s just walking round the school grounds or a walk to the local park to look for certain species of plants the fresh air will do them the world of good and guarantee some exercise in a non-sporting setting which some children will welcome.