There Are More Advantages to Outdoor Classrooms Than You Are Aware Of!
Spending time outdoors is as important for children’s development as learning to read and write – so why not combine the two, with Outdoor Classrooms!?
Currently, 72% of Australian teachers have said they take lessons outdoors at least once a week, which provides more structure and connects what the students learn inside to what they explore outside. When teachers are incorporating outdoor learning opportunities into their teaching, it can be seen that students’ behaviour improves and they are more eager to learn. It is also a confidence booster for students who feel less comfortable in the classroom, which then thrive in an outdoor environment.
The benefits of having students engage in outdoor learning is limitless, not only now, but stems through to their future growth and development. As noted in the Australian curriculum “students can gain unique and specific benefits from outdoor learning, including skills and understandings, while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promote sustainable use of these environments.”
Whatever the weather, being out in fresh air has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, improve eyesight and increase physical activity, which in turn promotes good health. With technology advancing faster than ever, it means that students are finding themselves in front of screens at an alarming rate. Adding outdoor classroom facilities increases concentration and reduces the amount of time students are physically sitting inside at their desks and in front of computer screens.
Now more than ever, the utilisation from the benefits of outdoor classrooms can be captured with the effects that come hand in hand with the current Covid-19 pandemic. To create ample learning environments that are safe and socially distanced, many schools leaned towards outdoor learning. For many schools this included banks of spacious picnic settings, installing shade structures , adding trees/greenery and yarning circles . Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, outdoor spaces weren’t viewed as a tool to promote the wellbeing and education for students. With Australian students spending over 10,000 hours during their adolescence in schools , outdoor environments for learning improve student mental health and learning outcomes.
To have a comfortable outdoor classroom experience, it is crucial that educational facilities have done their research on the furniture items they require and the year groups they are catering to. There is a variety of outdoor classroom furniture available that is suitable for primary and secondary students that support a wide variety of outdoor learning activities such as picnic settings, curved benches, and wheelchair accessible furniture pieces. Weather conditions should also not stop outdoor learning, so appropriate measures must be taken to cater for these events occurring. Fixtures such as shelters and umbrellas can be incorporated into the design and aesthetics of a school to offer covered outdoor learning spaces to the students and teachers suitable for all weather conditions.