The benefits of effectively integrating outdoor learning into educational and development programmes for young people are now well established:
“When planned and implemented well, Learning Outside the Classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social an emotional development.” – Learning Outside the Classroom – How far should you go? OFSTED report 2008.
“You can’t learn about the outside if you are on the inside” – Mick Waters
“For some children a week’s residential experience is worth more than a term in school” –Tim Brighouse
In November 2006 the DCSF published its manifesto Learning Outside the Classroom which leads with the statement:
“We believe that every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances.”
Such experiences “help us to make sense of the world around us by making links between feelings and learning. They stay with us into adulthood and affect our behaviour, lifestyle and work. They influence our values and the decisions we make. They allow us to transfer learning experienced outside to the classroom and vice versa”.
Outdoor and adventurous activities facilitates authentic or experiential learning (the engagement of learners with the world as they actually experience it) and gives better access to the main pathways to learning (Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic).
As a result, we can expect to find the following benefits/outcomes, as identified in the High Quality Outdoor Learning, published by the English Outdoor Council and detailed below.