The Importance of Learning Outside

The concept of learning outside the classroom and outdoor learning has been with us now for a number of years. The Government’s 2006 Outdoor Learning Manifesto outlines that ‘every young person should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances.’ It defines learning outside the classroom as ‘the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning.’

Furthermore, Ofsted concluded after a recent report that ‘ when planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.’ However it was important to remember that ‘learning outside the classroom was most successful when it was an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities.‘

The Benefits and Places To Go

The benefits of learning outside the classrooms are many. It motivates, stimulates, and shows that actions have real consequences. It allows pupils to discover potential they might otherwise not have been aware of and broadens horizons.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom states that there are numerous settings in which outdoor learning can take place ranging from the school grounds and the immediate surroundings, heritage sites and farms to the natural environment, on expeditions and on study, sports and cultural tours.

The Hardelot Centre in France, is a residential centre run by KCC, and provides the ideal opportunity to fully embrace learning outside the classroom. Set in 8 acres of woodland; it offers accommodation for up to 32 children and 6 adults. It’s location on the Opal Coast, near Boulogne, means that it is less than one hour from Calais and easily reached from Kent either by Channel Tunnel or by ferry.

Local Attractions and Activities Offered

The extensive facilities offered on site provide a wealth of outside learning. There are areas to play football, volleyball, and boules; a giant chessboard; a challenge and low ropes course; an open air theatre; a classroom and a games room.

The Centre is conveniently close to many fantastic local attractions such as a the Sea Life Centre Nausicaa and WWII museum La Coupole,  and can also arrange for excursions to a local bakery, snail farm, chocolate/sweet factory or goat cheese making factory.

Many of these attractions can be incorporated into curriculum work that is already taking place within the classroom.  

Time and again we see the benefits a visit to the Hardelot Centre has on pupils.

Student Accounts

“ I loved the woods where you could be absolutely free. I loved to also try different things to eat, especially the snails. I will miss this place.” Pupil from St Peter Primary School - Year 6

“ A wonderful setting for a residential with lots of resources  to keep young people occupied and happy. Thank you for letting us share this with our group.” Hersden Youth Group.

We would love to welcome any groups who are keen to embrace the opportunities that the Centre can bring.

Learning outside is a great way for kids to enjoy education and as technology keeps improving, another way for children to enjoy learning and possibly the Future of Learning: Virtual Reality for Education.

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