Outdoor Learning

“Childhood is that state that ends the moment a puddle is viewed as an obstacle instead of an opportunity.”

Kathy Williams

Why is being outside so important?

Children today no longer have the freedom afforded to their grandparents and are much less likely to have access to playing outside unless accompanied by hovering parents, watching carefully in case of accidents. This is further compounded by the digital world in which we live, leading to children arriving at nursery, and even reception, proficient in the use of technology but unable to ride a tricycle or scale even the lowest climbing frame.

There are many reasons why teaching and learning outside is so important, here are just a few…

  • The outdoor environment is multi-sensory so children use all their senses to investigate the world around them.

  • Being outdoors provides children with opportunities to investigate and explore different types of materials, and seasonal changes, in a meaningful way.

  • Only outdoors can children properly experience, first hand, the natural world. It enables a better understanding of life cycles – plants and animals.

  • Natural resources develop imagination and creativity as they are completely

    open-ended, enabling the development of critical thinking.

  • Being outside allows for children to take risks in a safe environment

  • Being outdoors is better suited to the developmental needs of many children.

  • Playing outside creates a sense of well being and helps to develop positive attitudes such as perseverance and self-confidence.

  • Physical play promotes healthy attitudes and can combat obesity.

  • Healthy eating is promoted as children are more likely to eat what they have grown in the garden.

  • Personal and social qualities are developed and fostered as children work together at activities of their own choosing.

  • Outdoor learning is memorable!  Experiences are retained in the limbic part of the brain which stores long and short-term memories and emotions.

  • Environmental awareness is fostered as children learn to take care of their environment and the plants and creatures found within it.

The most popular of my training courses is Developing Outdoor Learning in Early Years. Although there are many CPD courses on early years, courses focused on learning outside are few and far between!  I am a great advocate of learning outside the classroom as I have seen first hand how this benefits teaching and learning for all. Teachers are often amazed at the range of skills and concepts that can be taught outside, covering all areas of learning.