By Sinead Hamill
By learning in the natural environment Children can benefit not just from an educational perspective but also in terms of their behaviour, social skills, health and wellbeing, resilience, confidence and sense of place. 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 throughout their lives.
Student Outcomes and Natural Schooling has been produced by Plymouth University and Western Sydney University, following a conference organised in collaboration with the University of East London and Natural England, and with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
It highlights the many and varied benefits to children of learning in the natural environment, not just from an educational perspective but also in terms of their behaviour, social skills, health and wellbeing, resilience, confidence and sense of place. But it also says that in an age dominated by a full curriculum, busier family lifestyles and increased fear within society, children are losing the freedom to play, explore and be active in their environment and being denied opportunities that could enhance their long term prospects.
The report, published today, identifies a framework showing how governments could build on existing and current research and introduce outdoor learning as an integral element of national education policies.