The photo above is one I took recently of Juliet Robertson who was leading a Messy Maths workshop at Stramash in Fort William. Juliet is an enthusiastic trainer with a passion for outdoor learning and it was a pure joy to have got a place on this workshop even if it did mean an early drive to Fort William.
But back to my original question, is outdoor learning best for children? The answer is simply (but loudly) YES!!!!!
Stop and think about it for a moment, you can plan an activity for your children and it can easily be done inside in a nice controlled way. But it’s not that difficult to take it outside either. Outside you have the benefits of sunshine (very important top up of vitamin D), you have space and you have nature. Children thrive more when given space to problem solve, their learning becomes their property and they control how it goes, with some careful input from practitioners of course.
Having seen how the children in my care react to activities done outside compared with inside I’ve noticed so much more engagement from them. Take a recent gluing and sticking activity. When we did this inside I was lucky if I got 4 children fully engaged with it. However when we took it outside a couple of days later more children wanted to come and take part and stay for longer. So it’s totally beneficial to the children’s engagement and enjoyment of the experiences we offer when they are done outside
This could be a good time to talk about my love of loose parts play but maybe I’ll save it for another post?