Outdoor Learning – why now?

“There has never been a better time to learn in the outdoors where it’s less enclosed and there is more space to social distance and better air quality. Infection control is easier outdoors, outside space allows for social distancing to happen more naturally”. (Guardian May10th 2020)

The Welsh Government announced in their guidance to all schools on June 10th that Outdoor learning should be an integral part to the phased return to schools and that Schools should maximise the time learners spend outdoors.

The physical, mental and educational benefits of outdoor learning approaches were also highlighted as:

  • learning ‘in’ the outdoors has been shown to support both physical and mental health and well-being
  • learning ‘about’ the outdoors provides a context to develop ambitious, capable learners (particularly though science and humanities)
  • learning ‘for’ the outdoors can be about understanding the climate emergency and environmental sustainability, leading to the development of ethical, informed citizens.

It also has important benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak as:

  • evidence indicates that the risk of infection is reduced outdoors
  • evidence suggests that the virus suffers in sunlight
  • social distancing is easier to observe and maintain outside, which Practically, it may be easier for practitioners to manage larger groups of learners outdoors. (Welsh Government

Outdoor learning has many benefits among those; increasing self-esteem, confidence, and improving physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show exposure to nature supports the regulation of mood and helps to improve emotional resilience. (Natural Resource Wales)

Natural Resource Wales, an active PODS partner organisation produced this poster summarising the benefits to wellbeing of learning outdoors.