Unlocking potential with outdoor learning

Primary Times takes a closer look at learning in the great outdoors, as Outdoor Classroom Day takes place on the 23rd May.

With the rise of technology and screen time for children, now might seem like the perfect time to explore more about the importance of outdoor learning.

What is outdoor learning?
An experimental approach based around learning through doing and through discovery that can be effectively linked to the curriculum. Various resources and activities are used to create exciting, stimulating outdoor experiences for children, providing opportunities to learn new things and to develop new skills. It can take place in any outdoor space – for example within school grounds, off-site through school trips, or at the local park or woodland area too. As well as being a great way to explore PE and art lesson topics, outdoor learning can complement subjects such as science, geography, maths, history, languages and more!

Occurring twice a year with a date in both May and November, Outdoor Classroom Day encourages teachers, parents and carers to take their lessons outside. It aims to shine a light on some of the benefits of outdoor learning, both in terms of a child’s education and their individual development.

Learning outdoors and its benefits

🐜 Time spent outside in nature is thought to contribute towards physical and mental wellbeing

🐜 Experiencing lessons in fun and engaging ways may enhance curriculum topics, helping children to develop genuine interests and a passion for the subject/topic being studied

🐜 Outdoor lessons allow children to become more familiar with their local environment and wildlife, which can lead to a deeper understanding of nature and a connection to the natural world around them

🐜 Hands-on activities provide practical and social experiences, strengthening teamwork and communication skills, problem-solving, creativity and even critical thinking

🐜 The freedom for children to explore their sense of adventure and grow in confidence through being immersed in nature and green spaces

SEN and neurodiversity
All children have their own unique ways of learning. For some, such as those with special educational needs, a traditional classroom environment may stifle natural curiosities and can sometimes be quite a stressful or overwhelming place to learn. Outdoor learning offers fantastic opportunities for inclusive education and can appeal to children of all ages and abilities. Providing possibilities to learn and grow together, building social skills, independence and self-esteem through sensory activities in natural surroundings outdoors, it’s thought to be greatly helpful for SEN children.

Fun activities for families
Many schools are now offering Forest School sessions as a key part of their curriculum, so it’s worth keeping an eye out and enquiring about this provision at schools locally to you.

You can also try some exciting educational activities at home together for everyone to enjoy.

πŸƒ Minibeast hunt

πŸƒ Orienteering in your local park or woodland area

πŸƒ Gardening

πŸƒ Hiking a nature trail

πŸƒ Outdoor musical performances

πŸƒ Drawing or painting the alphabet outside

πŸƒ Practise telling the time by drawing chalk clock faces

πŸƒ Go rockpooling

πŸƒ Write a poem outdoors based on your surroundings

Find out more about how you can get involved with Outdoor Classroom Day at: https://outdoorclassroomday.com

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