The Importance of Outdoor Learning

Although outdoor learning has been proven to benefit children’s development and grade scores, education is increasingly moving away from school trips. Modern children now spend years imprisoned between four, mind-numbing classroom walls…unless their family is privileged enough to send them to private school.

Why Is There A Decline In School Trips?

The three main obstacles in outdoor education’s way are: health and safety regulation, paperwork, and the dreaded claims culture. Teachers are too frightened to attempt school trips, as parents increasingly turn to litigation.

We have a situation on our hands where the party most set to gain from outdoor learning – underprivileged children – can’t afford to pay the household bills, let alone fork out for expensive school trips.

Yet the benefits of outdoor education are uncontested across the board. School trips are an obvious source of emotional and intellectual development. It also affords an opportunity for teachers to forge important bonds with their pupils and the knock-on effect this has on classroom behaviour and learning is dramatic.

Adventure Excursions

Although school trips do occasionally occur for the modern student, riskier excursions such as adventure activities tend to be completely out of the question. However, many teachers maintain that these trips are the most important of all.

Rock climbing and canoeing encourage children to become active, instead of vegetating in front of the TV or video games. If they don’t channel surplus energy into such activities, some children will turn their attention to more dangerous vocations.

Hitting Targets

Another setback related with school trips is the extremely tight school curriculum. When it comes to taking the time for outdoor learning, days missed become a problem. With so much focus on assessment and not on education, children are suffering. In the UK, many teachers sacrifice their school holidays and weekends to take the pupils on trips, in a show of altruism that’s quite staggering. The teaching ethos in the UK is very special and completely underappreciated.

Education absorbs the majority of every young one’s childhood, but we encourage kids to spend this time with their noses buried in text, worrying about exams and memorising quotations for mystery questions, because they can’t take their literature into a controlled environment. What do children learn from this?

Parental Control

Over the last few decades, children have been increasingly encouraged to stay at home, instead of playing outdoors. This culture of fear has extended to school trips, even though the risks are very low. Statistically, if a child was living permanently on a school trip, he or she would break an arm once every 114 years!

Outdoor Learning Across Curriculums

With school trips, you can get maximum learning for your buck by going on an excursion that includes important information across departments. For example, visiting First World War sites can cover English and History, while a trip to the art gallery could include Maths and Science education; especially if you pop into a nearby museum.

This post has been written for Knowsley Safari Park, a fantastic and memorable day out for families, and an educational experience for students. Are you a teacher who understands the effects of outdoor learning? Sound off in the comments below!

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