There are lots of fantastic benefits to teaching outside, besides getting a suntan! Imagine that the sky is a particularly alluring shade of blue, the sun is beaming, the flowers are blooming, and… you’re closeted in your classroom with 30 pupils, all of whom are giving off that particular post-PE, prepubescent scent.
If that’s not enough of an incentive to get outside, maybe one of these ten reasons will inspire you to teach in the great outdoors!
1. It can improve children’s health
Being outdoors makes you less likely to develop nearsightedness and can boost your immune system.
2. It increases focus and engagement
A study by Kuo et al (2017) found that 54% of children who came back inside after an outdoors lesson needed fewer reminders to stay on track, such as being asked to sit down or stop talking out of turn.
3. It builds a greater connection with nature
This improves children’s mental, emotional and physical health and well-being.
4. It creates memorable learning experiences
Teaching outside can make wow-worthy lessons, letting children be hands-on and encouraging their creativity.
5. It increases retention of knowledge
A 2013 study showed there was a better long-term retention of academic content when it was learned outside (Fägerstam et al 2013).
6. It can improve behaviour
There’s a wide body of evidence to show that the more time children get to spend outdoors at school, the more positive their behaviour. A 2008 report by Reading University and WWF-UK exploring the effect of learning about sustainability showed that teaching outside had far more benefits to children than just the education alone.
7. It appeals to different learning-styles
Children who feel inhibited by curriculum can thrive outdoors.
8. It can decrease stress levels
Getting outside is known to defuse stress. Short walks in a natural environment can reduce anxiety, distraction and symptoms of ADHD. In a 2009 study, children were taken on three different walks: one in a green space and two in quiet, urban settings. The walk in the green environment provided significant benefits to the children’s attention “roughly equal to the peak effects of two typical ADHD medicines” (Taylor and Kuo 2009).
9. It can build teamwork
Burning off excess energy outdoors makes children calmer and fosters pro-social behaviours.
10. It’s fun for teachers too!
Teaching outside can encourage creativity in lessons and lets teachers benefit from the above. Happy Doodling! Article by Emma at DoodleMaths