Learning outside the classroom

Recently, I discovered through Sue Cowley (Teach Early Years Magazine), that 3/4 of children now spend less time outside than prison inmates do, and with 3/10 children in Scotland overweight or obese (5-14) – primary schools need to have more outdoor learning and children need to be better educated. 

There are many benefits from learning and playing outdoors – from exploring the environment to just being out in the sun, and playing with peers to learning through their senses – outdoor learning couldn’t be more important in 2018.

Outdoor learning helps children understand our environment more – which of course in a world where plastic is destroying our oceans and  littering is killing our animals it is essential that children understand the impact that their actions can have on the environment. The idea of teaching children the life cycle INSIDE a classroom seems insane when all you have to do is walk outside to see the real beauty. Teaching children through a powerpoint that ‘littering is bad’ or that ‘we must recycle’ doesn’t really have the same impact as taking the children outside and looking at the environment for themselves – and see the impact our actions can have. By taking children outside, they will respect our planet and hopefully install morals and habits that will last a lifetime.

Learning to respect and look after our environment, wildlife, plants and oceans is not the only benefit of taking children outside. There is some evidence to suggest that teachers have a better relationship with their students if their students participate in outdoor learning. Teachers had noted that they had improved relationships with students and had better personal development for themselves. Learning outdoors can help combat underachievement and as seen from the image, there are overall benefits to teachers and students. (if the image isn’t clear – then click on this link here and scroll to the bottom. https://www.educationcity.com/blog/benefits-teaching-lessons-outdoors

After reading (through all the websites which have been linked in this blog and Teach Early Years magazine) I have found many many benefits to teaching outdoors. A summary of them include:

  • Better behaviour
  • Higher attendance
  • Improved motor skills
  • Respect and engagement with environment
  • Free and unlimited resources
  • More active lifestyle
  • Become more independent
  • Engages students to learn
  • Creates and supports creative minds
  • Improves communication skills
  • Better personal development (teachers)
  • Better awareness of environment and surroundings.

I’m aware that this list could go on and on, but I thought I would end my blog post upon a reflective point I heard in a lecture recently. Would you teach differently if your classroom had no walls?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
– Mark Twain

Sorry this blog post is so short! Thought I would try to get into the hang of blogging again!