Why limit learning to indoors? The outdoor environment and nature takes learning to a whole new level. The outside environment allows the students to learn in and about their natural environment. Knowledge and nature are valuable resources and if these two are blended together, it satisfies the need to learn and need to connect with nature.
Research revels that children are highly benefited from daily connection with the natural world. These benefits have a lasting impact, especially when positive experiences with nature come at an early age and are supported by caring adults. The outdoor learning improves literacy as well as can enjoy the outdoor and learning simultaneously.
The goal of outdoor learning is to increase the quantity, quality and the benefit of children's out door experience. But unfortunately lack of outdoor learning, addresses at many critical issues facing young children today:
- Lack of exercise and physical activities
- Preoccupation with electronic media
- Isolation and fear of nature
- Not being social
- Lack of interest in and understanding of our world including nature and human impact on it.
- Current trends toward a one dimensional approach to early childhood education.
- The epidemic use of behavior-modifying drugs on young children.
- Decreases engagement and enthusiasm for learning.
Indoor learning with growing stack of books suggests lack of outside time could be contributing to a host of problems in children, ranging from obesity to attention deficit disorder to Vitamin D insufficiency. Kids need to go outside and knowledge becomes more effective on field trips and hand-on education that align with state curriculum standards.
These outdoor classrooms can be made even more exciting by decorating it with different learning equipments. Outdoor classrooms are available in myriads designs depending on a group’s resource and space constraints. Creativity is crucial and will make the outdoor learning experience delight for all involved.
Types of outdoor classrooms:
- Designed as water resources such as pond, streams and wetlands
- Butterfly and wet flower garden
- Agriculture as well as vegetable garden
- Bird and squirrel sanctuaries
- Composite and recycling areas
- Arboretums with native trees, shrubs, plants and nursery areas
- Weather station
- Amphitheaters, shelters, nature trails and other structures
- Art gardens-sculpture, oriental, artist specific gardens
- Oyster gardens
So the learning space can be exciting by creating a new paradigm for learning.
This learning space should include
Comfort and convenience
The outdoor learning space should be comfortable where students feel at home. It should be an ideal place where kids can crawl and have fun and teens can enjoy reading in chairs outside of school, so it may be best to make cozy spaces in the classroom too.
Space which is colorful as well as attractive
Research says that a space decorated with different colors, create a fresh perspective. Different colorful attribute in the outdoor learning space can do a great deal to alter a space depending on the activity. It makes learning more exciting and interesting for young children.
Different seating patterns
Different types of designer furniture would allow the students to learn in different moods. It allows the students to work in different areas, depending on the project or time of day.
These are the most important aspects in the out door learning space to better prepare students and move them forward.
The school yard habitat is a space for the natural development of students in which they can learn about science and the outdoors through a hand on experience. It is an interactive opportunity for students and teachers to know how math, literature, history, art, and music are influenced by nature and our natural resources.