The Role of Real World Learning
Emotional & Physical Health
A wide body of research demonstrates the positive impact of nature on emotional wellbeing.
In outdoor learning, pupils develop more positive relationships with each other, with their teachers and with the wider community. It can develop community pride and a greater sense of place, belonging and community.
Outdoor learning generally results in increased levels of physical activity.
Playing and learning outdoors can improve muscular strength, co-ordination, balance, dexterity and aerobic fitness. Children can burn as many calories in an active outdoor play session as in a PE lesson.
Enjoying the outdoors in childhood leads to a greater use of the outdoors for active recreation in later life.
‘If we want to use our natural environment to generate good health we need to do more than say it is available; proactive action by public bodies is required.’ Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer
Outdoor learning connects children and young people with the natural world.
Positive experiences of the outdoors in childhood have a significant impact on environmental attitudes and behaviours in adulthood. Now, more than ever, this is essential if people are to lead lifestyles that are more environmentally aware and sustainable.
Outdoor learning helps develop the skills of inquiry, critical thinking and reflection necessary for our children and young people to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges of life in the 21st century. Opportunities for outdoor learning exist across all curriculum areas. It is active, hands on and involves learning from real-life situations in a way that energises and motivates, particularly for pupils who have different learning styles or find classroom learning unappealing.
Vocational and employment skills, as well as social and personal development, can result from structured and informal outdoor experiences.
The outdoor environment encourages staff and students to see each other in a different light, building positive relationships and improving self awareness and understanding of others. It offers opportunities for personal development in areas such as communication, problem solving and working with others.
Outdoor components of personal development courses can increase attendance and completion rates.
Actions in a managed, outdoor context can promote understanding of the dynamic between risk, consequence and benefit, and support the need for adventure in the lives of children and young people.