Benefits of outdoor learning
Outdoor learning has a positive impact for teachers and educators on their practice, health and wellbeing, professional development, job satisfaction and more.
Learning outdoors can support curriculum delivery. Not only are the lesson plans supplied mapped to the Australian curriculum, but outdoor learning supports increased interest in learning which in turn achieves greater learning through improved engagement.
Outdoor learning has positive impacts for children – it works on their intrinsic motivation for learning, provides enjoyable lessons, increases creativity, and activates thinking outside the box. It also improves children’s health and wellbeing, social skills and behaviour, and furthermore has been proven to encourage better attendance, teamwork and to reduce bullying.
In a USA study, students who had taken part in outdoor learning ‘performed significantly better on achievement tests‘ and those students ‘expressed high interest and wellbeing and low anger, anxiety, and boredom‘ when compared with students who had been taught using more traditional methods (Randler & Kern, 20015).
A study in Australia found that hands-on contact with nature in primary school ‘can play a significant role in cultivating positive mental health and wellbeing‘ (Maller, 2005).
When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils ‟personal, social and emotional development‟ (Ofsted 2008).
And of course, it promotes a love of healthy nature play for themselves which also resonates through their community. Let’s not forget, play is the work of children! In fact, it’s vital for the learning of life skills, such as resilience, teamwork and creativity, and simply for harnessing the joy and wonder of childhood. High quality out-of-classroom learning influences how children behave and the lifestyle choices they make. Participating in Outdoor Classroom Day and integrating Outdoor Learning ‘shows the potential…not just to change individual lives, but the lives of whole communities (Peacock, 2006).
- Maller, C. (2005), Hands-on contact with nature in primary schools as a catalyst for developing a sense of community and cultivating mental health and wellbeing in Learning in the Natural Environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers
- Waite, S., Passy, R., Gilchrist, M., Hunt, A. & Blackwell, I. (2016), Natural Connections Demonstration Project, 2012- 2016
- Ofsted (2008), Learning outside the classroom. How far should you go? in Learning in the Natural Environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers
- Peacock, A. (2006), Changing minds: the lasting impact of school trips in Learning in the Natural Environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers
- Randler, C., Ilg, & Kern, J. (2005), Cognitive and emotional evaluation of an amphibian conservation program for elementary school students in Learning in the Natural Environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers