You don’t have to go back many years to find a time when ‘outdoor education’ would basically have been tantamount to PE. Today, more and more parents and educators are placing emphasis on the importance of getting children out of the house and the classroom and into the great outdoors.

Outdoor learning isn’t new

The notion of outdoor learning isn’t new. Organisations like the Girl Guides, Scouts, and the Woodcraft Folk have all been touting the benefits of outdoor learning for years, and offering camps and structured outdoor activities that provide a safe but open platform from which to learn about and explore the outdoors, make friends, and grow as an individual. And yet, a desire for more outdoor learning both at home and school is definitely a part of the modern educational climate.

A huge driving factor in this movement is the popularity of forest schools. A forest school is an approach to learning which is all about getting children outside, learning and playing in nature. Forest schools are for children of all ages, from the littlest ones up, and they place a heavy focus on independence, free play and open learning. Children in forest schools learn to co-operate and communicate with one another, as well as building problem solving, risk management, and vital self awareness skills.

Popularity of outdoor education is on the rise

Scientific studies into the approach are also going some way to boosting the popularity of outdoor education. A recent report conducted by Plymouth University found that outdoor learning ‘boosts children’s development’ and called for it to be included in national curricula. Of course, outdoor education also comes with the added benefit of simply getting children outdoors in the first place; it’s all too easy for today’s kids to forget how much fun can be had in the woods, when the lure of the PlayStation and the iPad indoors are constantly present.

More schools in the UK every year are jumping on the outdoor learning bandwagon, and there are huge numbers of summer camps available in both the UK and Europe which have outdoor learning at their core.

Just some of the benefits associated with outdoor education include:

Developing teamwork skills
Better concentration and results – clearer minds achieve more
An appreciation for the wider world
A better understanding of scientific processes
Health and wellbing
A decrease in behavioural issues
Learning is fun!

To read more about some of the benfits or some of the research that has been done on outdoor learning check out the following research paper.

Why not visit Summer School Directory to see some of the outdoor education providers on offer – there’s sure to be one that suits you and many are offering awesome early bird discounts!

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