The potential benefits of outdoor learning are vast, with an ever growing research base proving what we often intrinsically know to be true - that being out-of-doors makes us feel 'better'.
The potential benefits of outdoor learning are vast, with an ever growing research base proving what we often intrinsically know to be true - that being out-of-doors makes us feel 'better'. A taster of this evidence base can be found here, What does the research say about Outdoor Learning? , courtesy of the English Outdoor Council. What is apparent is that by just being out-of-doors yields benefits for us first as individuals and then collectively as a society. Some of these benefits may be engineered or planned, but many benefits are seen to be the unintended consequence of the effects of being 'present' within the non-human world.
Through carefully planned, curated and facilitated out-of-door learning experiences we can expect individuals to:
develop self esteem, take personal responsibility, co-operate with and respect the needs of the non-human world;
extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the non-human world around them;
understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and the non-human world; and
promote a positive and knowledgeable response towards personal health and well being by recognising their relationship with the world around them.
By being out-of-doors we find a fertile space devoid of societal 'noise' to begin a transition from Competition to Collaboration, Consumerism to Compassion and Conformity to Creativity.
As previously discussed - #rewildachild Moving from Consumerism to Compassion in a Human and Non-human world - we need to help individuals, particularity children and adolescents, reconnect with the non-human world, rekindle a deep connection with this world and with this develop a physical and psychological position which will motivate our activities towards a more sustainable way of being within this world. This can be achieved through facilitating carefully planned out-of-door learning experiences.
Alongside these 'planned for benefits' we can also recognise 'background benefits', including:
enhanced personal and social communication skills;
increased physical health;
enhanced mental and spiritual health;
enhanced spiritual, sensory, and aesthetic awareness; and
the ability to assert personal control and increased sensitivity to one's own well-being.
By being and immersing oneself in the non-human world we activate changes within ourselves and with these come far reaching benefits with broad ramifications.
In 'Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder', author Richard Louv tells of the many barriers we face in bringing children back to the wilds - ‘most parents and educators acknowledge this situation, many are confounded as to how to bring children back to nature.’ Yet the solution is easy - Get dirty. Get out their. Go wild. Essentially #rewildachild.
At Cymbrogi Learn we are excited to launch this Autumn our first Young Change-maker workshops (12th and 13th of October) and we invite young learners, teachers, parents, school leaders and all those interested to get in touch to find out more.
We also invite all those interested in this debate and in the opportunities associated with re-engaging with the non-human world to join us at our upcoming Cymbrogi Learning Festival (8-9th of October), a free two day festival exploring the Cymbrogi Core 4:
Sustainable & Circular Futures
Owning your Well -being
Creativity & the Curriculum
Why not join us at Cymbrogi Learn, online or onsite at our inspirational Cymbrogi HQ in Pembrokeshire, and become a member of a growing community of thinkers and doers in the field of 'Sustainable learning for a sustainable future.'
Thanks to the English Outdoor Council for some of the original content within this article.