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Should outdoor learning be formally adopted?

26/07/2016 Joanna

The development of outdoor learning hubs could "boost children's development", a new report has found.

The study, which was conducted by Plymouth University, highlighted the negative effects of children spending less time outdoors, suggesting that an outdoor learning hub would not only boost children's learning, but would help teachers to shape policies and strategy.

Sue Waite, a reader in outdoor learning at Plymouth University and co-author of the report, stated: "At the moment, if outdoor learning is part of a school's curriculum in England, it is largely because the teachers recognise the value of it. With so much focus on academic attainment, there can be pressure on teachers to stay in the classroom, which means children are missing out on so many experiences that will benefit them through their lives."

The report was made up of previous studies, which concluded that although many schools already use outdoor learning, this is an informal process. It suggests that by making this a policy, pupils at all schools can reap the benefits.

In addition, it outlined the purposes behind different types of outdoor learning. "We need to be a little bit clearer about what forms of outdoor learning meet what purposes and aims, Ms Waite stated.

She suggested that rather than just moving the classroom outdoors, activities should be tailored to learning. For example, residential outdoor experiences could help children to develop social and leadership skills, while field studies could be particularly effective in helping the students to gain a greater awareness of the environment.

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