A research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and lead by Dr. Sue Waite, from Plymouth University, has highlighted the benefit that education outside the classroom can bring to. Taking education outside the classroom led to students being more engaged which resulted in ideas being shared more freely and deeper questions being asked and a higher calibre of classroom discussion. Schools need to “…capitalise on the experiential aspects of being outdoors…” said Dr. Waite. With a current emphasis on ’school readiness’, through attainment and testing, some fear that their will be an even further decline in learning outdoors.
The study highlighted that children begin their development with discovery forms of learning and are now quickly being transitioned into teacher-lead learning though there are significant benefits to maintaining independent learning. The study proved that “characteristics of effective learning such as engagement, motivation, and thinking critically and creatively are all well-supported by outdoor context which stimulate children to learn through playing and exploring, actively learning, and self-regulating their learning.” (Dr. Waite)
Link to BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22122108