At Haileybury Malta, we take outdoor learning very seriously indeed. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of being outdoors, and how being outside for lessons can enhance mental health.
Just being outside can be uplifting. It is a very good way of re-energising children who have been sitting inside a classroom. Just how does it improve pupils’ wellbeing and help them with their academic study?
First, static seating plans in the same classroom, day in and day out, is not especially stimulating for a child. Outdoor learning is a really useful tool in improving motivation, physical skills, communication, confidence, physical skills, self-esteem, the ability to work cooperatively with their peers, and allows them to apply their knowledge and understanding to a broad range of different experiences.
Furthermore, all children learn in different ways. Some children find being inside a classroom all day rather stifling and stressful. Outdoor learning offers lots of opportunities to undertake different activities that are not practical in a traditional classroom. Sensory immersion can reinforce classroom learning and help develop different ways of tackling problem-solving strategies.
Children these days have rather stressful lives. There are academic pressures, and also further pressures created by the media. Getting outdoors, away from their classrooms and away from screens, is a simple and effective way of reducing this pressure on children. It also helps foster a lifelong love of the outdoors, which will help form good habits for their adult lives. Happy children are then much more eager to learn across all subjects.
Learning outside can help promote new skills that will enhance teamwork, thinking skills and fine and gross motor skills. By reflecting the inside curriculum outdoors, you can be sure that children are learning how to apply theory to real world situations.
Sir David Attenborough famously said “If children don’t grow up understanding nature and appreciating it, they will not understand it. And if they don’t understand it, they won’t protect it. And if they don’t protect it, who will?” In order to truly understand and appreciate nature, children must experience it.
Outdoor learning should not be a luxury; it should be a crucial part of a child’s education.
The Haileybury Malta campus in Mtarfa will be fully-equipped with a substantial outdoor learning area. Pupils will be able to use it to read, socialise, undertake science experiments, undertake team-building tasks, and be equipped with the skills needed for a happy life in the modern world.