Why is outdoor learning so important to children's education?
It's history, it's geography, it's science... it's everything! When I was looking at whether or not teaching was for me I came across a school that had outdoor learning at the heart of everything. I spent a few weeks at this school volunteering and immediately saw huge benefits to it so much so that I completed my teacher training doing 2 of my placements at this school and ultimately working there for 7 years.
The National Curriculum and our curriculum here at Cross Farm can easily be enhanced through the outdoor environment. It is a simple change that engages children in ways that makes learning stick for life. I remember being at my previous school and having some children who were 17/18 come back to visit for work experience and they talked about their learning not from what they did in the classroom but from what experiences they had outside and they were able to link this to where they were now and how it had shaped them in to adult. They remembered performing in the amphitheater, planting daffodils and sunflowers and harvesting these at different points, pond dipping, picking fruit off the trees and making apple pies and plum pies, harvesting hazel branches to make rhythm sticks and so much more. Those moments created memories that in turn helped learning to stick.
The outdoors is our biggest classroom...Take a leaf for example. A leaf can be explored by looking at colour, line, shape and texture but it can also be looked creatively as a shelter for minibeasts or a way of creating soil. You can explore the movement in the Autumn when they fall from the trees. You can kick through the leaves exploring the sound they make. The science links are endless, leaves are the food makers for plants and trees and we can explore why some trees lose their leaves in the autumn.
Here at Cross Farm we are on our journey of creating an environment and embedding a curriculum that encompasses all that the outdoors has to offer.
I will be sharing outdoor learning ideas through the blog and what opportunities we are taking to explore the outdoors.