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FEAT


ATURE: OUTDOOR LEARNING


The benefits of outdoor learning S


ome of our biggest learning experiences come to uswhenwe break away from the confinement of classroomwalls. In our annual look at outdoor learning, Steve


Anderson, head of


Kingswood, explains adventure providers educational activities at


children experience the benefits that


through adventure. outside and learn when they get


Sitting at a desk and watching a teacher stand at the front of the classroom while writing on a whiteboard can often cause children to switch off. No matter how interesting the topic may be, some find it difficult to concentrate and digest important information in this way. That is why


p p –


getting outside and learning through adventure or new activities, or even going away on a residential trip with classmates, can prove extremely beneficial.


Not only will they be experiencing new


activities, but – as they will be having so much fun they won’t even realise that they’re learning and utting into practise key skills such as maths and


si o


utside. The senses go into overdrive with new There’s so much to see and explore when roblem solving by ‘doing’.


ghts, smells, things to hear and touch. Being in the outdoors definitely gets young people using their brains in a way that being sat on the sofa in front of the TV doesn’t let them, and encourages them to move their bodies and become more active – particularly important given the current childhood obesity crisis.


But it’s not just these as there are many other benefits and skills children can develop through outdoor learning.


TeamBuilding


We all know that being able to work with others is a key quality – it helps at school, in sport and is essential in later life when we’re at work too. Having the skills to empathise with others affects school cohesion, friendships and well-being. That is why residential camps are paramount in honing this skill-set. Not only do children get to participate in team building activities – such as exploration in the outdoors or even building a raft together on a lake – but living together in residential centres means it’s really hard to avoid working with others.


32 www.education-today.co.uk May 2019


Communication


In a new environment, situation or group, new communication skills are learned. Being able to communicate effectively, especially in different and often strange and exciting situations, accelerates these skills in the way that ideas and information is shared. Children’s listening skills are also enhanced through learning from activity leaders as well as coming up with solutions to the challenges they are set during tasks.


Friendship fo formation


Being pushed out of comfort zones and thrust into new group situations means, quite often, that new friendships are formed. People are creatures of habit and when we are sat at the same desk next to the same people each day it can be difficult to branch away from what we know. However a new environment and trying out new activities as part of a team will open the door for children to expand their friendship circle.


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