When one imagines a school, the first picture that comes to mind is a building, desks and chairs, a blackboard and an atmosphere that’s all work and no play. However, gone are the days where teachers spoke and students listened. With information at their fingertips, children of today need a pedagogy that prepares them for the world.
Even the career choices open to young adults demand a mix of knowledge, skills, creativity and quick thinking. Hence, schools are increasingly employing innovative methods to impart knowledge that prepares students to go places in life. This is where outdoor education plays a massive role, allowing teachers to combine traditional teaching methods with more modern, application-based learning.
What Outdoor Education Means
Outdoor education broadly refers to a range of organised activities that predominantly take place outside the four walls of a classroom. From encouraging students to participate in extra- and co-curricular activities to going on field trips and treks, these help nurture a child’s holistic development.
Reasons to Choose Outdoor Education
Enhances Attention Span
Most children have short attention spans, and back-to-back classes can turn an exciting subject into a dull one. Moving the class outdoors has an instant impact because it is inherently more refreshing and is a welcome change in their routine. This style of teaching makes students more invested in their education, helps them connect with the world around them and greatly improves their retention levels. It also encourages them to think better and focus harder — a vital skill in any situation.
Provides Hands-on Experience
What makes outdoor education unique is its ability to foster learning through the senses, which increases the likelihood of applying one’s knowledge to day-to-day scenarios. This makes studying interesting, engaging and relevant to the child’s curriculum. In addition, it has been proven that ‘learning by doing’ creates more neural networks, making the entire body a tool for learning. So, when inquisitive, young minds are taken to mathematics labs, they are more likely to remember the fundamentals of problem solving versus learning about them in theory.
Encourages Problem-solving and Teamwork
An important facet of outdoor learning is encouraging students to work together, and solve problems using what they’ve learned. From walking in groups to executing team projects, outdoor learning teaches students to work hand-in-hand and overcome obstacles confidently and creatively. It allows them to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities. In addition, it also takes students out of their comfort zone and prepares them for the real world in a constructive and practical manner.
Promotes Mental and Physical Well-being
The development of a child isn’t restricted to intellectual growth alone. Games and sports are included in every school’s roster to encourage children to remain both mentally and physically active. Outdoor education gives students the opportunity to breathe fresh air, walk amidst greener surroundings and interact with the environment — especially in a world where technology distracts young minds and keeps them from exploring newer ground everyday.
The world is changing. With groundbreaking technologies connecting the world, one needs to stay connected to their surroundings as well. Although teaching outdoors may seem archaic, it takes us back to our roots and reminds us of the age-old gurukul system. With this approach, learning transforms from being a task to something that students look forward to every single day.