Learning Outdoors: The risk worth taking


 

Did you know that children are in more danger when they are indoors at school than when they are playing and learning outdoors?

 

Kate Moorcock, author of ‘Swings and Roundabouts’ reported in 2005 that there was only a 0.01% chance of an accident for a child who is playing or learning outdoors. And the accident statistics for children haven’t changed significantly since.

 

Why am I bothering to telling you this?

 

Well, when I was writing our Outdoor Literacy Pack I spoke to lots of teachers about how much outdoor learning they did, how often they took their lessons into the immediate school grounds and what kind of learning it tended to be.

 

There firstly seemed to be a lot of ambiguity around what I meant by outdoor learning:

‘Did I mean residentials and/or adventurous activities?’ they asked ‘Day trips to nature reserves and other ecological/science related topics?’ or perhaps ‘Forest Schools’ or allotments and gardening clubs?’  

 

I actually just meant how many times do you take your class of children outside and use the immediacy of the school grounds as an extension of your classroom?

 

One of the reasons given for not doing as much outdoor learning as they might like was health and safety issues. This often put them off going out for lessons in the school grounds. But the risks are so minimal that, actually, ordinary common-sense and good behaviour management are all that are needed when you teach outside.

 

However, there also emerged a second reason for not doing regular teaching outdoors; a shortage of resources that were written specifically for outdoor learning. Most teacher resources are written with a classroom focus – needing equipment and furniture to be able to deliver the lesson. Or require the obligatory worksheet.

 

But is a worksheet indoors the best way to learn?

 

There is a strong feeling by some educators that learning outside the classroom can result in longer retention of what is being taught.

 

Children certainly find learning outside the classroom more varied, more unusual and therefore more engaging. With the option for wider physical movements and space to learn collaboratively and actively it offers so many possibilities.

 

In our Outdoor Literacy Pack we demonstrate that phonics, grammar, and other aspects of literacy can be learnt in playful engaging ways.

 

There are over 100 ideas, based on playground games – often getting children to run around, hop skip and jump.

Statistically, with these ideas,  children will enjoy learning aspects of literacy safely and very effectively.

Low risk – high return.

 

Why not visit the website, download the free samples and make your own risk assessment?

outdoor literacy pack

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