This post is based upon a presentation given by Julie Wilson, National Development Officer Outdoor Learning at Education Scotland that was given to Dalkeith High School and associated primary schools on a Valentine’s Day In-set. Definitely a day to fall in love with learning outdoors!
The reasons are Julie’s, based upon comments she has received from teachers, children and young people over the last ten years. The photos are just some of my own to illustrate her ideas. They are Scottish teachers and Early Years practitioners, taken in all seasons and weathers!
We are happier and more hopeful when outdoors especially when in contact with wildspace and nature.
We are more focussed, more attentive and more engaged for longer outdoors.
We are more adventurous, adaptive, flexible and reflexive outdoors.
We are better connected to places and people outdoors with a stronger sense of identity and purpose.
We learn better in the real world, in real life contexts, where we can make meaningful sense of our experiences.
We are more curious, ask questions, build stronger cognitive pathways and use higher order thinking strategies more readily outside.
We are more relational outdoors and our learning is more collaborative and shared.
We are more inclusive outdoors, deploying different learning styles and drawing on different ways of knowing.
We are regenerating our practice in learning and teaching through our journeys outdoors.
We are genuinely cultivating new ways of doing things outdoors.
What do you think? Do these reasons resonate with you? I thought Julie hit the nail on the head quite nicely. Certainly my own experience backs these statements up. Being outdoors benefits me, as a teacher, as well as the children with whom I work.
Julie has set up the Getting Outside blog which documents some of the events and activities around learning outdoors that are going on in Scotland. To be honest, there’s so much happening – lots of pilots, experiments and projects of one sort and another that it is hard to keep track of it all. All-in-all, I’m privileged to be part of this and working in Scotland where there is national recognition and support for learning outdoors.
(This post is cross posted on I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!)