Growing up a kiwi kid at a country school my memories of learning in the outdoors are plentiful. From hut building in the bush to making bridges across the creek. Games with sticks, and mud slides down the hill. Fond memories for sure.
Fast forward to my years as a teacher and I am disappointed to say I have not given my learners as much of these same opportunities. This is most certainly not through lack of wanting too but more so due to reasons that I am sure other teachers would resonate with.
I know for some it could be due to fear of risky play, feeling out of their own comfort zone or not feeling they would be supported by their school.
So what can we do? Let’s not dwell on what we haven’t done but instead let’s focus on what we will do to get our kids outdoors more and to get the kiwi kid experience that I loved and enjoyed.
Research shows that the frontal cortex, which is responsible for controlling emotions and problem solving, is activated during play. This is what makes Celia Hogan of Little Kiwis Nature Play say “play makes children smarter” and I agree.
Cool so it’s good that we let kids play during lunchtime at school yeah? Yeah it is but what else could we do. What could we do as part of “class time”?
I get it, the idea of fitting in “outdoor learning” is daunting in terms of time, effort, risk, procedure and school politics. While you work on challenging or ignoring those things let’s look at some ideas to simply take inside learning outside.
If you are after a bit more, as in inside learning tasks adapted to make use of the outdoors give these a try.
I ask you this – What do you currently do inside that you CAN’T do outside? Probably not a lot. Maybe the odd thing requiring power. So what are you waiting for? Pick one part of your learning programme and try it outside tomorrow.
If you want to go even further and rethink education with an outdoor classroom lens then our freedom ed membership has an extensive spotlight chat with Celia Hogan. Celia shares with us more about the what, why and how or learning outdoors. We explore the barriers, how to overcome these as well as take a look at a couple of examples of just what learning can happen in the outdoors. We look more at moving past taking learning outside and actually using the outdoors as the learning. If you aren’t already, join as a member here.