The Importance of Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning outside the classroom opens the door to many valuable skills and qualities. Here we explore what they are and the impact they can have.

Learning inside the classroom is a tried and tested method of organising schooling. However, teachers and pupils have always valued the learning opportunities provided by a range of activities conducted outside the classroom.

Learning outside can help make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils, enhance their understanding and reinforce lessons taught indoors. It can also contribute significantly to pupil’s personal, social and emotional development.

Integral approach to Outdoor Learning 

Research conducted by Ofsted found that learning outside the classroom was most successful when it was ‘an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities. For example, discussing a topic in the classroom, then carrying out a practical in the playground and following up with some research as homework is a simple way of using multiple mediums and environments to teach.

Learning outdoors is practical, motivating and refreshing. Making it an integral element will retain pupils’ attention, enabling them to learn in varied ways and by ‘seeing and doing, not just listening.’

Learning Outside the Classroom opens the door for Creative Thinking

Learning outside the classroom is a fantastic way of stimulating thought processes that otherwise may not initiate. For example, two young children exploring a nature play area discover a woodlouse under a stone. ‘Why does it live there?’ ‘The stone protects it.’ ‘It doesn’t want the sun’. ‘It’s hiding from it’s enemies’. Immediately an interest has been generated (which could be followed up with classroom research). Pupils can record their ideas and compare them with other’s responses. Through direct observation and experimentation, pupils can arrive at sound conclusions based on evidence. This is an important requirement of the National Curriculum programme of study for science.

Learning outside prepares for the future

Another finding in Ofsted’s research was that learning outdoors can make an important contribution to pupils’ future economic well-being and preparation for the next stage of their lives. Outdoor learning gives opportunities to work together towards shared aims, and to develop key skills such as leadership, teamwork and effective communication. These are valuable qualities that can be taken through into their working lives. Additionally, the development of them through learning outside the classroom can help to combat under-achievement and promote confidence and self-belief.

Create an outdoor learning space

Playcubed have been creating outdoor play and learning spaces in schools for over 40 years. Over the years, we have understood the importance of learning outside the classroom. From natural and sensory gardens, through to growing areas and outdoor classrooms, outdoor learning can be hugely enhanced with the correct provisions. So, if your school is looking to embrace learning outdoors, contact us today to discuss how we can create a space that really works for your needs.

Speak to the play experts