Outdoor learning

Playing in the mud

Outdoor activity helps children keep a positive outlook. There is no aspect of the national curriculum that cannot be taught outdoors at the Key Stage 1 level. This approach is shared by Coombes Primary School where they state, ‘We continue to develop our outdoor environment as our largest classroom.’

Froebel maintained that the capacity to struggle persistently lies at the foundation of character; children love to encounter challenge in play and work. Outdoor involvement provides such challenge.

Children develop their vestibular sense (balance) through teetering, tipping, spinning, swinging, rocking, jumping, bouncing, sliding and fast forward motion. They have a biological drive for such experiences and use any opportunity to run, slide down banisters, roll down hills, hop from place to place. In order to develop perfect coordination of body and brain, children need action in which their muscles encounter resistance: pushing, pulling, stretching, carrying. They like to hang from bars, to dig and rake, to feel tension in their limbs. Skipping rope, climbing trees, pedalling bicycles and pushing wheelbarrows are actions that fill this need and only happen outdoors. Significantly, movement is actually what allows children to sit still.

From Lighting the fire – a free booklet on outdoor play and hands-on learning.

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