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The benefits of outdoor learning for Children

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The great outdoors is something we’ve heard quite often by our parents whilst growing up and for good reason. There are more benefits than we naturally come to think when we think of the nature that surrounds us. It’s more than a handful of trees and a spread of grass. It’s a whole classroom, given by the planet itself. There truly are psychological and academic benefits to taking a child’s learning space outside. Here is a compilation of why this could boost your child’s learning.

It improves personal child development. The outdoor space gives the child a sense of freedom, it’s open and bright and allows interaction with other children of their age. Comparing this to a regular classroom where there is a fixed space to sit in for long periods of time, the concentration levels don’t allow the quality of work and effort to shine through. Working together during practical work can aid to emotional and behavioural development which is key at this stage of a child’s life.

It gives a deepfelt love and appreciation for the world we have around us by connecting them to nature. In modern society, it’s easy for technology to be the go-to when teaching as it can cut down on time and efforts. But the difference between giving a child a screen to tap on compared to a piece of paper and pen or even getting elbow deep in mud makes all the difference. In time, being surrounded by tech can make you blind to what we have on our doorstep, which is a whole world on its own waiting to be discovered. And what better age than a child who is still eager to learn and find new things, to introduce a profound appreciation to what could have a positive long-term impact on them. Like this nursery in Harpenden, it is encouraged for a child to discover what’s around them as well as sitting in a classroom with their pens and paper.

Outdoor learning is proven to help both mental and physical health. The freedom to express oneself with addition of a great number of plants and greenery, significantly reduces stress levels in highly stressed individuals. It also supports a child’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity by providing them with the biggest colour pallet around: Nature itself.

It can actually boost academic performance in children. It boosts both personal and social skills. Studies have concluded that students that learnt outdoors compared to the ones indoors, did significantly better on academic based work through improvement of engagement, behaviour, attendance and overall attitude to school. This is mainly due to the hands-on aspect of outdoor learning and the practicality of it.

Each child develops a unique practical experience whilst being outdoors. The classroom teaches what to do in the real world yet rarely allows them to practically experience it. Outdoor learning allows them to apply what they’ve learnt and explore and expand their enthusiasm for learning.

Overall, outdoor learning serves a bigger purpose to learning than you think. The idea of a child learning simply from being in an outdoor space seems bizarre at first but can be done so easily. Children value the idea of freedom and open space without realising and it plays a huge factor to behavioural changes in them. The best part is, it can be done anywhere, from the school grounds to a country park to even a city street. The opportunities are endless and they’re there at your disposal. If you ever get the chance, give it a go, you’ll be surprised at the wonders it’ll unfold.

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