Four Fave Benefits of Outdoor Learning

The benefits of outdoor learning are endless, and with a love for the outdoors at the core of everything we do here at The Outdoor Classroom, we could easily go on for hours about all the positive impacts that come from exploring the great outdoors. Particularly in early years, starting young minds off with a respect and understanding for the natural world around us not only educates on nature, but aids in the development of life-long skills.

'Research from T. Gill showed that outdoor learning boosts confidence, social skills, communication, motivation, physical skills, knowledge and understanding, while research from O'Brien and Murray found an increase in children's self-esteem, self-confidence, ability to work cooperatively and positive attitudes to learning...'

Source: Literacy Trust: The Benefits of Outdoor Learning in Early Years

So in the interest of not writing a thesis length blog, here are out Four Fave Benefits to Outdoor Learning!

Encouraging an Active Lifestyle

Providing engaging outdoor experiences for children from an early age sets the baseline for their perception of outdoor learning and sporting activities. Offering interesting activities outdoors for children to participate in encourages positive thought processes around outdoor activities, as opposed to viewing outdoor sports for example as unappealing.

We often find our member schools that encourage outdoor learning in weather like overcast or even light drizzle are nurturing more resilient minds who think independently to dress appropriately in order to enjoy outdoor learning, rather than being disengaged due to bad weather.

Promotes Mental Wellbeing

Getting outdoors and active is not only proven to support positive physical health, but mental health too! Exercise as we know releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone, that encourages more positive thinking and increased energy levels. Learning outdoors rather than in a classroom also offers children the opportunity to increase their exposure to vitamin D, which helps pour bodies to regulate calcium and phosphate, keeping bones, muscles and teeth healthy. However it also increases the production of serotonin which is essential for stabilising our mood and is linked to happiness!

Supports Emotional and Social Skills

Learning and playing in an outdoor environment offers children a change to explore and process feelings in a situation they can control. Being in a wide space lends itself well to group activities, as opposed to being cooped up inside. The opportunity for children to work collaboratively with others offers the ability to practise empathy and develop an understanding of others, helping to develop their emotional and social skills through engaging in group activities.

Facilitates Exploration and Inquisitivity

What better place to teach children about the world around them than the great outdoors? The extra space offered by being outdoors will give children the sense of freedom to make discoveries by themselves. Engaging in activities such as loose parts play outdoors can help children develop their own ideas and create games with their friends without feeling like they're being directly supervised. They'll begin to understand what they can do by themselves and develop a 'can do' attitude, which will act as a solid foundation for future learning.

Bonus: Get Free School Resources

International Outdoor Learning Day is coming up next month, and we're gearing up for a great day full of fun and exploration. We've created a resource pack of outdoor learning essentials for schools to enjoy. Register your interest today to receive the pack in time for the big day!

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