Learning opportunities away from a traditional classroom setting are now a regular part of school life, with OfSted recognising that “when planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.”  (OfSted’s view of LOTC – Council For Learning Outside The Classroom.)

So how can your primary school encourage regular access to new learning experiences in a way that works for both you and your pupils? Learning outside the classroom isn’t just about visits to external venues such as art galleries, theatres and museums. Here are three ways that we can help you make the most of learning on site.

Grow your Own

Working in a school garden naturally increases pupil physical activity levels. Children develop social skills as they work together to plan, build and nurture their allotment. It doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective – herb planters give immediate space for growing family favourites like strawberries – or grow winter vegetables and larger plants in raised beds. Recycled plastic planters make the perfect splinter-free alternative to wood, are more competitive on price and last longer before they will need replacing.

Take learning outside whatever the weather

Experienced teachers know the benefits of taking children out of the classroom environment. Learning in a non-formal setting helps young people to engage in activities not normally possible indoors. They can mix with children out of their usual social circle and learn to approach obstacles from a different perspective. An outdoor classroom is a practical answer to the unreliable British weather, extending the space available and widening scope for fun activities away from the desk.

Create a space for wildlife

A fantastic teaching tool in itself, a wildlife garden can give children direct and up close access to nature in many forms. Placed in the right spot it offers a unique opportunity for young people to explore solitude and mindfulness, as well as creating a sense of awe and wonder. Several studies show that when children are exposed to nature they are more likely to carry this knowledge into adulthood. Delineate planting borders with recycled plastic curb stones and give visitors a place to sit on an attractive but weather resistant park bench.

If you would like to know more