Learning outdoors has huge benefits for children and staff.
Play is how children learn and where better to allow and encourage that than in nature; where imagination thrives, problem solving is a necessity, taking risks is encouraged and every day is different.
At Oaktree we have introduced a weekly Outdoor Learning Day. Although initially introduced to support the children’s physical development we have loved witnessing the other and far wider-reaching positive impacts it has had and is continuing to have on the children’s development. It allows children to be present, curious and experience first hand the world in which they live.
We have found that our Outdoor Learning Days support learning in all seven areas of learning and development of the Early Years foundation Stage Curriculum: Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Being outdoors in all weathers means the children experience a range of challenges which result in a range of emotions. How we regulate these emotions is of high importance, building resilience and emotional intelligence. There is also an opportunity for all to thrive regardless of their achievements in class. As well as building resilience, our Outdoor Learning Days have been pivotal in developing the children’s team building skills, risk-taking abilities and critical thinking
Communication and Language: A relaxed environment promotes language skills and we don’t have to be quiet!
Physical Development: Outside space gives the children the opportunity to learn through movement, freely and confidently. It also has huge benefits and improvements to fitness, strength and coordination.
Literacy Opportunities: We have found the outside world offers a wide range of literacy opportunities and education including letter recognition, singing and rhymes. We have also enjoyed listening to stories and rhymes and taking part in Drama sessions in the outside world to bring the stories to life outside the classroom environment.
Maths development: Our Outdoor Learning Days provide endless math opportunities; counting found objects, finding patterns and shapes in nature, using rain water to explore capacity and using the natural world as a stimulus for problem solving activities and discussions etc.
Understanding The World: The natural world is the perfect environment for children to observe, question and discuss while developing an understanding of change and growth. Who doesn’t love a mini-beast.
Expressive Arts and Design: Being out of the ‘normal’ classroom gives children freedom. Children can initiate their own learning and there is no right or wrong. Imaginative role play is at its best and creativity is endless.