10 ideas to take learning outdoors on a budget
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10 ideas to take learning outdoors on a budget

21 July 2021 By Justine Lee, Communications and Fundraising Manager at Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

Children learning outdoors

Taking your learning outside the classroom is an easy way to motivate your class, engage them with a subject and help them be more active. It can help you achieve school priorities while also making learning fun and positively impact behaviour, learning, and attainment. But it can be hard knowing where or how to get started.

Here are 10 cost-effective ways to take learning beyond the classroom:

1. Use the LOtC Mark framework as a guide

Developed by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, it is a flexible framework for schools to help establish their out–of–class learning across the whole curriculum.

2. Use your school grounds

Immediately accessible, cost–effective and convenient! Using your school’s grounds, with sessions led by your staff, is the simplest way of incorporating more learning outside the classroom into your children’s learning.

3. Don’t let space limit you

Regardless of the size of your school grounds, there are endless opportunities for learning across all subject areas. Use chalk and measuring distances to draw a historical timeline, planters to create a school garden, play areas for team–building activities, draw shapes and create angles…your imagination is the only limit!

4. Establish links with other schools

If yours is a rural school with lots of greens spaces, consider joining up with another school with a more urban setting and visit each other’s premises for a morning or afternoon of lessons. As well as providing teachers with opportunities to deliver different learning activities, it allows children to experience different locations, culture, and lifestyles, as well as interacting with new people.

5. Allow children to take the lead

Involve your class indecision making. Ask what their interests are. Perhaps a pupil is interested in cricket, you could arrange a trip to the local cricket ground. Do you have a keen baker? Take the children to the local shop to buy the ingredients for your baking activities.

6. Walk to your local park

Physical activity and learning! Taking children to the local park is an excellent way of learning outside in a natural environment. Trees, plants, hedgerows, wildlife, habits, ponds, rivers, bugs, there are lots of opportunities for science and learning about nature, risk–taking and exploration, teamwork, arts and crafts, building (dens, Stickman) and much more. Plus, they will also learn personal safety and wellbeing from wearing appropriate clothing, safety when crossing roads, to looking after each other.

7. Walk to your local town

Like visiting the local park, children will learn a lot about looking after themselves and others, building better relationships with the staff through communication and trust. Whilst on the way, ask them to take note of things around them – the houses and buildings, businesses, and roads. This can be a gateway to talking about local geography, history, urban design, transport, and people’s jobs.

8. Involve parents

Often, one of the limitations of taking children away from school can be not having enough staff to look after the children. Ask the children’s parents or grandparents to volunteer. They may also be able to organise class visits to their workplace or site.

9. Visit the local library or museum

Not just for the many books, displays and resources available to young people, local libraries and museums often have free weekly story time, crafts, or rhyme time sessions.

10. Bring the experience back into the classroom

Build on your out–of–classroom experiences when you return. Use what you have learned or discovered in arts and crafts, history, drama, experiments, literacy, numeracy, music, show and tell. The children are more likely to be engaged, feel connected to the topic, and understand more, all of which will significantly improve their learning.

You can find out more about taking learning outside the classroom and how to get started at: lotc.org.uk

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read others like it, it features in our Everything Curriculum Magazine edition 10. Each edition is centralised around a chosen theme, you can subscribe to receive future magazines via email or access our previous editions here.

Categories: Education

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