What is the significance of outdoor education?

John Dockendorf
3 min readFeb 24, 2023

Outdoor education is a method of learning that takes advantage of the unique aspects of the outdoors. It entails firsthand experience and leads to a greater comprehension of the natural world. Yet, defining outdoor learning in a simple and inclusive manner might be difficult. This is due to the wide range of methodologies, participants, activities, places, and outcomes.

Bringing children outside, whether through an environmental education program, a school garden, or a local natural environment, is critical for their mental and physical health. It keeps them physically active and mentally aware, which is especially important for pupils who have had little opportunity to exercise at school. Spending time outside can also help children develop self-confidence and resilience. This increases their emotional well-being, which improves their academic performance and social abilities.

This is because outdoor activities help children acquire critical life skills such as problem solving, independence, and confidence. Students can apply these talents outside of the classroom and even at home with their families.

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that pupils who participated in an environmental education program performed higher on standardised tests than those who did not. They also reported a more positive attitude about school and better classroom behavior.

Outdoor education is a vital means of assisting children in developing the cognitive, spiritual, and social-emotional skills required for functioning in a complicated environment. It feeds their innate biophilic tendencies, or desire to connect with the world around them.

It is also central to Maria Montessori’s view that a kid should be able to perceive the world via all of his or her senses. This encompasses the senses of touch, smell, and sound. A child who can see and feel the plants, flowers, and animals he or she is learning about will remember it far better than one who only hears it conveyed in words.

Children who are not exposed to nature are also more likely to be distracted, have a weaker capacity to pay attention, and have poorer health outcomes, according to research. As a result, outdoor learning is an important element of assisting our children to thrive and prosper throughout this difficult period.

Direct, hands-on contact with academic subjects is typically more helpful for students than standard lectures or worksheets. Active, kinesthetic learning promotes engagement, improves memory and concentration, and decreases distraction.

It also provides a space for cooperation and team-building activities, which aid in the development of social and communication skills in youngsters. It promotes creativity and invention while also assisting pupils in understanding how to address challenges in meaningful ways.

This method may be especially advantageous for inner-city pupils who do not have access to green play areas or outdoor settings. Urban parks and greenspaces are critical for promoting health and community ties. But, research suggests that many people are still not using them.

Outdoor learning is an effective method to think about the world and our place in it. It helps youngsters connect with nature and develop empathy, both of which are required for environmental stewardship. Outside learning increases student achievement in math, social studies, language arts, and science, according to researchers. It has also been demonstrated to improve self-esteem.

While various outdoor education programs have diverse goals and purposes, they always have one thing in common: the ability to promote emotional growth and well-being. This is especially true for some sorts of programs, such as therapeutic programs.