What is ‘Outdoor Learning’?
Outdoor learning (OL) covers all learning experiences which occur outdoors; big and small. The key is in making these experiences high quality. It should be authentic, meaningful and relevant for all of the children involved.
Why does it matter?
Evidence supports the claim that outdoor learning:
– raises educational standards
– impacts positively on both mental and physical health and well being
– helps develop responsible citizens and a lifelong appreciation of the world
– improves social and communication skills.
Why at Furzedown?
Nature and the outdoors have inspired generations, whether they be writers, artists, scientists or inventors.
As teachers using the outdoors as a learning environment can inspire and engage in different ways that a more formal and structured environment might.
We are keen to offer valuable learning opportunities in an outdoor setting and want to promote the benefits of free play and playful learning. By providing a nurturing and natural environment we can help to develop each child’s creativity.
Outdoor Learning also helps young people to manage risk and encourages them to welcome challenge. Experiencing adventure is an important opportunity for the children in our school to learn to manage their own safety.
OFSTED published a report on learning outside the classroom in October 2008. Among its key findings was:
“When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.”
OL at Furzedown
Similar to the flyers distributed by the National Trust, we have created our own list of 50+ things that Furzedown children should hope to achieve and tick off whilst in the great outdoors.
We are keen to use our central grass area for more meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We this in mind, children have started helping teachers to clear some sections in preparation for areas which can be used for foraging, a campfire area and even an area where children will be able to walk, balance and jump – an outdoor parkour trail – watch this space!