Stepping out of the classroom – outdoor learning

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By Rosaleen Joyce an advanced skills teacher and early years practitioner.

Open the door to outside learning – and give the children’s creativity room to breathe

Outdoor play

Curriculum demands on teachers leave little time and energy for creative thinking. The content is so vast that often we lose sight of children’s learning and become mainly concerned with coverage – ticking boxes and highlighting ‘best-fit’ statements. Excellence and Enjoyment encourages us to get out there and offer more than just the core subjects. We are told to have fun while we teach and learn.

In order to do this we need to have courage. To date, everything has been very prescriptive for five- to seven-year-olds, but now we are expected to go it alone as we create. The good news is that we can open up the curriculum while covering large chunks of subject matter by simply stepping out of the classroom.

Learning through play

Teachers of the Foundation Stage are an excellent role-model for using the outdoors to promote learning. They are aware that the essential elements for learning in young children involve play, movement and sensory experiences. There is no reason to suppose that when a child leaves the Foundation Stage and moves into KS1, they no longer need to learn through play. In fact, it would seem that we would all benefi t from these basic requirements being an integral feature of our learning, at whatever age

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