Summer is just around the corner and the government are encouraging everyone to stay outside to stop the COVID spread. Even with the hit and miss weather the UK brings, we believe outside learning can be a huge benefit to teachers and their students.
With fresh air comes a more positive mental state and encouragement to be more active. The pandemic has forced us all to stay inside and with things slowly going back to normal, teachers and students may be missing the great outdoors.
So why don’t we incorporate outside learning in our teaching more often? With more and more nature positive schools, nurseries and facilities opening, let’s look at some tips to successfully bring the classroom outdoors.
Get outdoors and embrace outside learning
A school doesn’t need to have their own private forest and vast fields to get the most out of outside learning. Even the smallest outdoor space can boost mental wellbeing and provide a welcome change of scenery. A break away from the four walls of the classroom could just be what your students need. Even if the lesson isn’t about an outdoors topic, outside learning can help to engage with students in a different way.
Adapting to the great outdoors
If you are teaching a primary class, the thrill of going outside could be overwhelming for some students. At first it may be hard to differentiate play time and class time. Give clear instructions and explain to the students the importance of looking after nature. Use equipment to keep the class engaged and get them interacting in an effective way with one another. Use sensory play or team activities to keep the children interested and on task. A generation who spends all their time on tablets, computers and TVs will benefit from this change of pace.
Use the surroundings to your advantage
The UK is notorious for unpredictable weather, but don’t let that put you off. Use the elements and the season to your benefit. Lean your lessons to the season. Make outside learning a positive environment to encourage your students. Teach them to look after nature and care for the creatures that inhabit the local area. Here is a link to some fantastic resources based on each season. https://www.ltl.org.uk/free-resources/
The paperwork is worth it
With outside learning comes a bit of extra paper work and risk assessments. But don’t see this as a negative or a thing to put you off. The DfE states “Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them”.
Tick Education are supply teaching recruitment agency based in Bedfordshire. If you are a teacher or teaching assistant based in Bedfordshire or the surrounding areas check out our current vacancies on https://tickeducation.co.uk/tick-jobs/