Updated: Apr 24, 2019
Outdoor education has a long history. But sadly it's not always received the kudos it deserves. For too long it's been sidelined as a "nice to have" or a once-a-year box ticking exercise in the busy school calendar. But now there's an unmistakable buzz in the air for outdoor education, and it's truly inspiring and refreshing to see!
A Renewed Buzz For Outdoor Education
More and more, parents, teachers and policy makers are realizing just how vital it is that children are regularly exposed to nature, and better connected to the living world in childhood. The many benefits for children are now well-documented. Outdoor education helps children to build wide-ranging knowledge, skills and talents, while also helping them stay physically active and healthy.
"Diversity of human intelligence must be at the forefront of 21st Century education, encompassing learning inside and outside the classroom to maximize youth potential for a brighter future."
So with renewed enthusiasm for outdoor learning, it's now time to ask how we could create an education system that fully embraces the benefits of experiential learning outside the confines of the classroom (or 'informal education'). The idea is not to replace classroom learning (or 'formal education'); there will always be an important need for formal teaching and learning.
Instead, the time has come to better connect formal and informal education using a joined-up, integrated approach that maximizes learning, while better preparing young people for the challenges and uncertainties of the 21st Century.
Nurturing Children's Unique Talents
Let's start with how to nurture children's unique talents and gifts in today's education system. We must learn to value and celebrate the many diverse types of human intelligence that exist, particularly in the case of learning outside the classroom. Hands-on learning lends itself perfectly to building a broad range of skills and abilities through real-world, meaningful and authentic learning experiences.