20 Nov EASY EOTC – Time to take learning outside the classroom
With summer fast approaching, and end of year classroom cabin fever, you might want to consider some ways to take teaching outside.
So, why do I encourage outdoor learning? If nothing else it will break up the day and provide an interesting change of pace. However studies have shown that outside learning relieves stress, naturally inspires children to be more physically active, and can provide a hands-on learning experience – take a look.
If you’re up for a challenge, why not organise a day trip to a local bush or nature walk? Use the Mountain Safety Council’s brilliant website and their tool Plan My Trip here. I’d encourage you to share this website with parents and caregivers as it’s a great resource for making the outdoors accessible to everyone. Also, your local council will have a guide to the bush walks within easy access to your school.
Easy gear list for learning outside the classroom
Being outside doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you’re organised. I’ve been working on a simple check list which might help to make outdoor adventures more spontaneous and fun.
Here’s my top 12 essential gear list for students and staff heading on a land-based day trip.
- Waterproof jacket (seam sealed)
- Warm wool or fleece hat
- Thermal top
- Thermal leggings
- Long sleeved fleece or wool top
- Woollen socks
- Sturdy footwear
- Personal medication
- Sun hat
- Water bottle – minimum 2L
- Adequate food
Outside but close to home
To encourage learning outside, you don’t have to go far. If a day trip isn’t possible there are a number of other ways you can bring the outdoors into the classroom. If you’re looking for an easy option close to school, there’s always the local park. Some of the bigger city parks also offer great exploring opportunities. You’ll need to remember the essentials water, hat, sunscreen and food.
Even if you can only make it outside for an hour, you’ll notice the difference in the classroom atmosphere. I’d encourage you to plan an activity keeping it simple yet fun and creative.
If you’re heading to the local park, encourage students to look around and observe what they see, smell, and hear. Challenge them to draw their observations, or write a poem. Haiku’s are a great way for students of all ages to have fun and focus on observations.
The outdoors is great for encouraging teamwork. I like the idea of challenging the students to work together to solve clues for a treasure hunt finding different objects based on colour, or native plants and flora.
If time is limited, a simple rubbish scavenger hunt can be whole lot of fun – especially if students have to create a piece of art when they get back from what they collect.
So, give it go, enjoy the fresh air and fresh ideas the students will have by bring the outdoors into the class room experience. Happy adventures!