Our earliest memories of the great outdoors are ones which we all remember fondly from our childhoods but are experiences had by fewer and fewer of us. A prep school in East Sussex shares the benefits of outdoor learning for children and why it’s chosen its ‘School in the Woods’ approach.
There is a whole world of senses to be unlocked by stepping into the outdoors. Whether it be the squelch of mud beneath your feet, experiencing the feel of a crisp autumn breeze or foraging for fresh fruit in a bright, beautiful garden. Outdoor learning is the key to sensory development.
This feeds into the development of gross motor skills which are often overlooked in most indoor learning activities. Lots of schools focus on the development of both fine motor skills and gross motor skills because they have a strong belief that all areas of learning are just as equally important as each other, so make good use of their outside space.
This more ancestral approach to learning helps to not only aid in essential sensory development but also improves physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing in children. There are so many positive benefits to running around in the fresh outdoors. Environments with a greater number of green plants have been found to reduce stress among children, having a positive impact on overall mental health.
Unearthing new plants and creatures can also provide a new hobby and instil an appreciation for nature from an early age. This can aid the development of one’s self-esteem in the early stages of their life, introduce the idea of personal responsibility and taking care of others.
Learning and development is also so unique to a child as they all have differing needs. An outdoor classroom engages learners who prefer to touch and move. Taking a hands-on method to teaching ensures that children that are creative aren’t deprived of new learnings.
There are so many valuable life lessons to be taught when it comes to the outdoors, all of which help to shape and mould our children. Whether it be a future in biology, archaeology or astrology, outdoor learning can benefit all.