BENEFITS LEARNING OUTSIDE
• connections are made experientially with the real world outside the classroom, helping to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in a meaningful context
• outdoor environments and surroundings act as a rich stimulus for creative thinking and learning. This affords opportunities for challenge, enquiry, critical thinking and reflection
• pupils find that not everything outside matches the models or the textbooks. This does not mean that what they have found is ‘wrong’. Instead, it develops awareness of the complexities of the real world and can help to develop critical thinking skills
• pupils are able to understand the relevance of a subject taught in school to everyday life
• pupils can sometimes behave differently outdoors. Quiet pupils may speak more, others become calmer and more focused when outside, especially in a natural space
• the multi-sensory experience outdoors helps pupils to retain knowledge more effectively. There are opportunities for pupils to learn with their whole bodies on a large scale
• learning in a less structured environment can provide a different learning experience from that of the classroom
• being outdoors can be a more relaxing learning experience for many pupils
Outdoor learning at St Edward’s School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Learning in outdoor settings offers pupils the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Pope Francis pleaded in October 2021 for the protection of our environment. He said,
“Future generations will never forgive us if we miss the opportunity to protect our common home.”
Outdoor learning at St Edward’s School supports his view in a range of ways: we enrich the curriculum and make learning fun, meaningful and relevant for pupils. Outdoor learning delivers sustainable development education through initiatives such as working to improve biodiversity in the school grounds, restoring habitats and exploring and engaging with community projects.
As well as supporting the environment, different outdoor learning experiences offer opportunities for learning skills in areas such as communication, problem solving, information technology, working with others and thinking skills. Learning in the outdoors can make significant contributions to literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing.
Outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, horticulture, land management, expeditions and the Duke of Edinburgh Award are part of the outdoor curriculum. We offer Forest School to our middle school pupils to aid their learning and to support their social, emotional and mental health needs.
This year we have launched the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award at St Edward’s, which will see our pupils pick up new skills, become more physically active and gain experience to help them in their future.