Learning Outside of the Classroom
Learning outdoors is a key aspect of our Curriculum which will contribute to ensuring that our learners are:
- ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives
- enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
- ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
- healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society
The four purposes (as noted above) will be embedded through real life experiences. We can ensure this through use of our outdoor area and through visits and enrichment experiences. The ability to take measured risks and developing independent learners are key elements of the Curriculum for Wales and this can be supported through outdoor learning. A large element of becoming responsible citizens stems from learning about nature and our impact on the natural world. It is imperative that our children and young people gain experiences outdoors in order to achieve this. One Area of Learning in Curriculum for Wales is Health and Well-being, where there is a great focus on the outdoors in order to promote mental health and well-being; general health gains and confidence in children and young people.
Why is learning in the outdoors important? What is the evidence that it has a positive effect on children and young people?
“Experience of the outdoors and wild adventure space has the potential to confer a wide range of benefits on young people… Development of a positive self-image, confidence in one’s abilities and experience of dealing with uncertainty can be important in helping young people face the wider world and develop enhanced social skills.” (Ward Thompson et al, 2006)
“Outdoor natural space provides additional opportunities for critical thinking, creative inquiry and problem solving; fundamental life skills permitting students to ‘think critically about issues pertinent to their lives and the world outside the classroom’” (Pretty et al, 2009).
“Both students and their teachers reported increases in knowledge and understanding as a result of experiences in the outdoor classroom.Whenever students were asked about their learning, they were generally able to explain something that they had seen, learned or understood on the visits… Developments in knowledge and understanding appeared to be from across a range of cognitive domains” (Dillon et al, 2005).
Examples of outdoor learning in Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur