16 September 2019
There are compelling reasons why schools and colleges should make more of their external learning environments.
Not least, the fact that developing outdoor education space frees up valuable room inside buildings, particularly in establishments which suffer from cramped classrooms or rising student numbers.
Fresh air improves learning
Of course, the advantages of moving students outdoors for periods of time are not just about basic practicalities. A healthy dose of fresh air has proven abilities to increase concentration and clarity, as pupils and college students get a beneficial oxygen boost to their brain.
Studying outside for a while also energises students and can grab and hold their attention, particularly during intense exam season or towards the end of term. Did you know that smelling natural aromas has proven abilities to make you feel less stressed and anxious? (source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/spring-scents_n_5021358)
There is abundant evidence to show that fresh air and sunshine (with adequate protection) boosts all those magical hormones that make people feel happier and more relaxed too. Outdoor education initiatives can also give teachers, assistants and tutors a source of new inspiration and learning opportunities. At the very least, hard-working staff will appreciate a chance to change the setting and fill their lungs with fresh air.
Affordable ways to support learning outdoors
It would be great to whisk your class or tutor group off to a beach, forest or mountainside to support aspects of the curriculum and improve their focus and physical health. Or maybe challenge them to high wires, kayaking or grass sledging to build team spirit.
The reality is, that you need ways to make the most of outdoor areas at your own education institution. Year-round, low-cost solutions are needed. Fortunately, creative street furniture suppliers offer a diverse and competitively priced range of items perfect for school and college grounds.
This includes benches, picnic tables and seating to create either formal or informal outdoor classrooms. Or, to provide outdoor seating and work surfaces for learning projects.
More reasons to invest in the outdoor environment
Making the most of outdoor spaces at schools and colleges can encourage students to use the grounds for their social interaction as well. Some schools and colleges have created areas with ‘buddy benches’ where solo young people and children can sit to find someone to talk to. This is a great way to dismantle isolation and connect kids who may otherwise feel bullied and marginalised.
By providing more outdoor education opportunities you could stimulate a greater appreciation of being outside in general. After all, this is the generation most likely to spend significant amounts of time glued to various devices in bedrooms and living rooms!