We have had another action packed month at Oryx with many 'outside the classroom' activities taking place. This week has reminded me about about the benefits of outdoor learning.
Sadly, many people and schools feel that learning can only take place in the classroom and nowhere else. I believe there are opportunities to learn all around us and we should always be looking for, and creating opportunities for learning outside the classroom. We are not only preparing our students for exams but for life as well. Learning is about developing the whole child in areas such as self-confidence, social skills, motivation and concentration, not to mention an improvement in language and communication skills, and not just academic competencies.
The outdoors is a great place to learn. Our trip to the beach this week was a great example of learning outside the classroom. Observing our students, staff and parents for the past two days on the beach was very gratifying. To see happiness, collaboration and positive attitudes can only be a good thing for all of us. The trips also reminded me about the benefits of unstructured play and the opportunity to be free from constraints and rules.
Often, children who struggle more within the restrictions of the classroom flourish in outdoor spaces, where they may feel less constrained and more independent in their learning and discovering. Outdoor learning gives a chance to observe the whole child in a different context, and provides the children with opportunities to offer ideas and questions spontaneously rather than always responding to adult questions within the confines of the classroom.
Outdoor learning creates opportunities
What’s more, when children see adults having fun and appearing more relaxed in their teaching – as is often the case once they get outside – this has an impact on how children view their learning overall. Many students with a history of negative school experiences, see teachers running around playing with the students. This experience will go a long way in helping to break down long-established negative associations of the teacher role.
Children and adults were not designed to sit at a desk for long hours. Children need space to learn and do certain things on a bigger scale. The outdoors gives them room to be noisy, messy, to run, jump, climb and move in different ways. They can engage with their senses and embrace the different outside elements throughout the whole year.
Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible next week at International Day.
Mr. Jarlath Madine