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☰ The importance of outdoor learning

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Headteacher Blog

The importance of outdoor learning

Posted on: 13 Jun 2019 by Weston Green School

We are hoping for improved weather on the horizon as we head rapidly towards the end of this Summer term. Naturally, at this time of year, we make the most of opportunities to take our learning outdoors. However, it is imperative that learning in the outside world is built in throughout the year - there is so much to learn out there, to provide a new context, to apply knowledge and skills in a different way and to take risks beyond the security of the school building.

Roald Dahl once said, “The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.”

The benefits of high-quality outdoor learning experiences quickly become apparent when the children are given the opportunity to take part in risk-assessed, but not risk-free activities. In the natural environment, children are able to develop their resilience and adaptability to a broad range of circumstances, they develop more reflectively, and they become more curious as the outdoors encourages them to problem solve more readily. Through this, they grow in confidence and self-esteem, understand more how to work collaboratively, and improve their communication skills. The difference in both scope and scale of the learning activity enables closer links to be made between the abstract and its application to the real world.

Above all, however, children develop a love, appreciation and respect for nature, an understanding of the need to care for our environment, and they experience the huge physical and mental health benefits of being outside.

Forest School at Weston Green is a hugely important part of our curriculum and we see daily the impact of its benefits on our pupils. It complements the other opportunities for outdoor learning we provide including our sports programme, our visits out, and the rich grounds around our school.

Outdoor learning experiences offer a great deal in terms of these benefits. By committing to learning both inside and outside the classroom, schools are able to teach children that learning occurs everywhere, at all times. Children understand better what learning means, often assuming previously that learning is something that only occurs when a book is open and a pen is in a hand. The opportunities to learn are all around us and will continue through our lives; our focus on learning outdoors helps us all to remember that.

Mrs. Evans

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