As another September appears on the horizon most of us in education are starting to shift focus to the new school year. The summer holidays provide a much needed break and give teachers a chance to rest and recover, but also to reset and think about what’s next. What if this school year was an outdoor year? 


If not now, then when?

At some point we have to act. The research keeps on coming to tell us that children learn best and feel good about themselves in the outdoors. We know that connections with nature boost wellbeing and lay foundations for us to care about the future of our planet. In addition, children often behave better outdoors. Most of all, pupils enjoy outdoor based educational experiences. So what is not to love?


Well, we are caught up with deadlines, exam pressure, curriculum, behaviour management and paperwork, and the list goes on. There is no sugar coating the fact that working in education is tough going and we are all busier than ever before. Part of the solution is to get children outdoors to learn where they feel calm and open to learning in completely different ways. Trust us, once you take that brave step out, you won’t want to head back in. Do it now and things will look brighter and feel fresh for you and your pupils.


Nature needs us

Our planet is under enormous pressure and needs us to listen and change. We are never going to secure the future of human life here on Earth without the love, care and action of younger generations. However, many of us and our young people are disconnected from nature due to our lifestyle and living environments. When children learn outside they make connections with nature that impact their decisions for life. Simply seeing a butterfly land on a flower or understanding that all living things rely on each other can be enough. These are opportunities we can provide for pupils, simply by stepping outdoors at school.


Keep it simple

There’s no need to overcomplicate things. Take everyday learning outside and you’ll still reap the benefits without endless extra planning. Here’s an example of secondary pupils doing something outside that they could have done inside, the only additional step was the one out of the school door! Use your grounds as they are, if you only have a paved playground, that will work. If you have a woodland area, great – use it! It’s all great space for outdoor learning, it’s all about how you use it and getting pupils outside. 


Start as you mean to go on

We all know that good intentions don’t always equal results. As the year goes on and the nights draw in, it gets harder to make changes to the way we do things. Now is the time to make outdoor learning a priority while we are fresh and have new classes of pupils to engage. 


Get ahead of the weather

Let’s be honest, many of us have put off going outside when winter comes around and our pupils can feel the same. Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. When we make going outside normal no matter the weather, it becomes a part of who we are and what we do. Start going outside now and keep it up so that pupils adapt and adjust to the changing seasons and learn that the weather is a piece of the experience. Start a collection of cold weather clothing for pupils who don’t have items or forget to bring them in. Then, nothing can stand in their way!


Let’s make this school year an outdoor school year! We admit it takes some planning and a shift in mindset, but trust us, it will be well worth the effort.

Share how you get on here.