Research shows the important value of outdoor learning, and how student achievement can be raised using the great outdoors. For the staff team based at Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Centre, we are lucky to see first-hand the development and joy this brings.
Lessons learnt outside along with the freedom to play, create lasting memories which often stay with individuals for life. Playing or creating the sense of play, helps children and young people build new and stronger friendships and develop character. They also gain a better understanding of risk and their own strengths and test their own limits. This helps them to solve their own problems and teaches critical life skills.
On 17th May, UK Youth will be celebrating Outdoor Classroom Day, a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of outdoor learning and play. Last year, the day reached over 2.3 million children and young people worldwide. It encourages schools to get outside for the first time, or share their success stories to inspire others. Through this, it is hoped this campaign will help raise the profile and importance of outdoor learning.
Outdoor learning at Avon Tyrrell
Outdoor learning is part of our core values and is at the root of everything we do. It plays a vital role in every programme we design and deliver. At Avon Tyrrell, we use our national park location, our diverse range of outdoor activities and our passion for adapting our sessions to suit the needs of each group. We can and do have a positive impact on character, skills and behaviour. We link many of our activities to the curriculum and have created a learning outcomes matrix to offer additional support for teachers and group leaders.
Outdoor learning delivered at Avon Tyrrell allows young people to develop skills and knowledge. Many of these young people come from urban backgrounds to connect with nature. Their time here adds meaningful context to some of the more formal learning they have at school. Over just a few days, they can grow more mature than they were before they came.
Why we’re celebrating
Outdoor Classroom Day highlights how not all learning and development occurs in the classroom. It also shows that outdoor learning positively influences children’s behaviour. Whole classes are excited to learn, and individuals who struggle with the curriculum often thrive in an outdoor environment. Many teachers have commented to us about how students have surprised them when they’ve got involved in activities.
UK Youth works with a high number of disadvantaged young people. Through this we know that those who could benefit the most often struggle the most to access it. Many of them have not been to a forest, beach or other natural environment in their lifetime.
With stretched budgets, increasing targets at schools and a decline in funding available to youth groups, we understand that it can be hard to justify a residential trip. That’s why we continue to advocate the benefits of outdoor learning. We’re also continuing to explore funding opportunities to enable as many young people as possible to access it too. All of this together means that as many young people as possible get the chance to experience, learn and develop.
In the run up to Outdoor Classroom Day and to help ensure more young people #LoveOutdoorLearning, we’ve launched an exclusive offer for schools and youth groups to try outdoor learning for the first time. Or to simply to provide extra chances for young people to spend the day enjoying learning outside their classroom.