Outdoor Learning Experiences supports teachers who wish to take their children away from the classroom to engage in learning in the natural environment. There is growing movement to ensure that children are allowed outside and to engage with nature. We believe the outdoors provide a new perspective for learning, offering interest, challenge, stimulation and novelty. This can support more hands-on, kinaesthetic learners, who want to learn by doing. It provides opportunities for children to demonstrate new skills and understanding. For some children outdoor learning is a chance to learn about nature, the countryside, and environmental stewardship; for others, it’s a chance to learn about where their food comes from, and how farming shapes the development of the countryside; it provides the opportunity to investigate the biodiversity all around them, whether that be minibeasts, the variety of plants within a hedgerow, or examining nature up close through a magnifying glass. Learning outdoors can be challenging, but it also offers opportunities for teamwork, developing new social skills, and learning new things. Learning outdoors isn’t just about nature and science, but can also involve development of new vocabulary, stimulate creative writing or art, and put into context information gained in the classroom.
Outdoor learning experiences delivers Educational Access visits for East Hall Farm, runs forest school and outdoor science lessons. Frances Harris carries out research on learning in the natural environment, and is a member of Natural England’s strategic research committee on learning in the natural environment, as well as trustee of two charities associated with food, farming and countryside education.