5 benefits of outdoor education

5 benefits of outdoor education

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Outdoor Education

Children spend a significant portion of their day in school, the place where learning happens. And as rightly said by Roald Dahl, “The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn and take care of themselves,” it is why probably outdoor education should be adopted by schools to make better and future-prepared children.

What is Outdoor Education?

Experiential learning in the outdoors is Outdoor Education. It refers to a wide range of well-planned and organized activities which happen in an outdoor environment.

If a school has any one or all of the below mentioned aims, it should integrate Outdoor education to:

  • Develop a deeper relationship with nature
  • Enhance personal and social development
  • Learn how to overcome adversity and increase resilience

5 benefits of outdoor learning

Outdoor learning leads to the holistic development of children. It has numerous proven benefits. 5 of them are discussed below

1. Child development

A child’s positive growth is essential as they progress in life. Outdoor activities greatly improve their physical, mental and emotional health. Being in nature encourages children to be more active physically and mentally, reduces stress through fresh air and alternative learning methods, and promotes relaxation. Exposure to sunlight also synthesizes vitamin D.

Exposure to new environments also boosts children’s self-esteem and confidence as they explore and try new things. A change in routine can also motivate unmotivated students to regain interest in learning.

Also Read: Back at school, Indian teachers face a crisis of discipline. How to solve these issues?

2. Academic and attendance improvement

Outdoor learning is a shift from routine conventional indoor learning. Each outdoor activity is new and unique, thus children will always remain curious about outdoor education in school and thus will try to be more punctual and regular in school. This helps schools improve and increase the attendance of students. This regularity helps maintain the learning flow and continuity, Children will thus understand better and learn better. Ultimately the learning index will improve and lead to high academic improvement.

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3. Development of important skills

Outdoor education is more activity-based, fun learning. All senses get to work. Kinesthetic learning enhances as children touch and feel things along with gaining knowledge. Exploring and experimental activities help improve problem-solving skills. Reflective and inquisitive skills also develop. Also if children work in teams and groups several social skills like communication, turn-taking, respecting, listening, cooperation, etc will improve. Children also gain skills like resilience and adaptability in occasionally adverse circumstances.

4. Happy learning

Children will enjoy anything that is interesting and fun. Outdoor education almost fulfills this criterion. By adopting outdoor education children will not only be happy but learn happily too. Emotional and intelligence quotients will automatically get a boost.

5. Community stewardship and love for nature

Outdoor education allows students to see that they are part of a whole.  Exploring their local environment gives students an appreciation and awareness of their community, which causes them to act more consciously. Students can also be encouraged to work with their community organizations to provide important data and discuss and write about environmental impacts. Being in nature and exploring its beauty and creation, children will realize the importance of conserving nature. They will fall in love with nature and begin taking care of it.

How Can Lessons be Adapted for Outdoor Learning?

Adapting lessons for outdoor learning can quickly improve the educational experience for students. Here are some practical strategies to integrate outdoor learning into schools:

  • Align activities with curriculum objectives, using natural surroundings for hands-on experience
  • Incorporate outdoor elements into specific activities like lunch, music classes outdoors, etc. Gradually expand outdoor learning to other subjects and lessons when students become more comfortable with the transition.
  • Transform indoor lesson plans into outdoor lessons.
  • Incorporate nature into activities, use the environment as a teaching tool, promote exploration and inquiry-based learning, and integrate physical movement.

Conclusion

Outdoor learning is not, and should not be, an end in itself, but should be integrated into the school curriculum. It must offer core experiences to children regularly and routinely, throughout their schooling.

FAQ:

1. What is the role of outdoor education?

Outdoor education plays an important role in the holistic development of students, encouraging lifelong connections to nature and empowering them as active citizens. It enables experiential learning, promoting physical health, personal growth, social skills, and environmental awareness. Through hands-on experiences in natural environments, it cultivates resilience, teamwork, and environmental stewardship among students.

2. What are the goals for outdoor learning?

The goals for outdoor learning are promoting environmental stewardship, improving academic performance through experiential learning, nurturing a love for nature, encouraging physical and mental well-being, enhancing social and emotional skills, and creating a sense of responsibility and respect for the natural world. Outdoor learning aims to enrich the educational experience and cultivate holistic and environmentally conscious students.

3. What are the benefits of an outdoor environment for children?

The benefits of an outdoor environment for children are:

  • It provides opportunities for physical activity, exploration, and sensory stimulation.
  • It promotes cognitive development, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
  • It provides exposure to nature, reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances overall well-being.
  • Outdoor play enables social interaction, teamwork, and a lifelong connection to nature, promoting holistic development in children.

4. What is the nature of outside learning?

Outdoor learning in schools involves taking students outside the traditional classroom setting to engage in educational activities in natural environments. It contains a variety of subjects and activities, such as science experiments, nature walks, and outdoor games, promoting experiential learning, environmental awareness, and holistic development.

5. How do you promote outdoor learning?

We can promote outdoor learning by integrating it into the curriculum, providing access to natural spaces, teacher training in outdoor teaching methods, and promoting partnerships with environmental organizations. Creating outdoor classrooms, organizing nature-based activities, and engaging students in hands-on experiences also play a crucial role in promoting outdoor learning.

 

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