Why Outdoor Learning Experiences? Well, everything we do is outdoors. Children spend most of their time at school indoors, but sometimes there’s s a real benefit in moving outside the classroom, away from the same desks and tables, and learning in a different way. Learning can involve using all our senses, listening, feeling, smelling, seeing, touching, and even sometimes tasting. I have heard some teachers claim that quite a lot of the primary school curriculum could be taught out of doors. While I am not sure I would go that far, I do think that much more can be taught outdoors than is done so.
So much of science and geography lends itself to outdoor teaching, and aspects of history can be taught outdoors too. It’s about exploring the world and discovering what is out there. Outdoor learning makes things more relevant, and breaks down the separation between “book learning” and “real world learning”.
Learning outdoors, in the natural environment, makes learning a more memorable experience. Learners experience the weather, whether it is sunshine on their faces, or a memorable rain storm. They smell the aromas, feel the textures of things such as leaves, bark or mud, in their fingers or beneath their feet. They run up or down hills, experience the darkness of the woods and the brightness of the sunshine.
Outdoor learning is not separate from indoor learning: they are linked. Outdoor learning can develop a wider vocabulary, and be the topic of new writing back in the classroom. Visiting a farm or allotment at harvest time can contribute to RE teaching at Harvest festival. FACE (farming and countryside education) sums this up in a fantastic diagram which depicts all the topics surrounding a tractor, and can be seen among the images appearing on the educational visits page.
Outdoor learning also allows children to develop “soft skills” alongside curriculum topics, outdoors. So team working, overcoming challenges, assessing risk, developing social skills – all these can also be enhanced with learning outdoors.
Take your children outdoors to experience a new way of learning!