3 Ways Parents Can Promote Outdoor Learning in Schools

Children need fresh air. The massive benefits of outdoor play are apparent at all ages, and spending enough time outside is essential for proper development in children. So how can you help promote outdoor learning in schools?

1) Opt for Forest Schools 

Probably the easiest way to ensure your children get enough time outside is to choose their nursery or school carefully. Schools which offer the Forest School programme will understand the benefits of outdoor play and will have this high on their priority list. Don’t be afraid to ask how restricted outdoor access is, and how often children are taken outdoors to play and learn. 

It's also important to check what outdoor facilities the school offers. Do they have a large playing field? A woodland area? An outdoor play area? Outdoor shelters are also a good sign that the school tries to encourage children outside all through the year.

Ultimately, be sure to check the individual schools’ values and goals, to see if they prioritise outdoor education with curriculum supplements such as forest school and field trips.

2) Become Part of the School’s Community

To help promote the value of outdoor education, it's a great idea to join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), or ‘‘friends of the school” committee. Here you can offer to help in school and field trips, which may shift the adult-child ratio and make outdoor experiences possible. 

You can also gather the support of other parents who share your values, and come up with creative ideas to push for more outdoor opportunities for the pupils. Applying for grants on the school’s behalf (with the school's consent) could secure funds to help toward the cost of building outdoor play areas, forest school areas and outdoor shelters.

3) Be Proactive 

In addition to offering research to support your interest in increasing outdoor elements in the school’s curriculum, you could also collect wellington boots, raincoats and warm hats to donate. Often, if children don't have the appropriate outdoor clothing, the school will be reluctant to let them outside in the cold and let’s face it we are sadly not often not blessed with sunny, warm weather! With plenty of spare clothing for the children to change into, parents and teachers alike may feel less worried about them getting dirty or wet during the school day. 

Offering your time and outdoor expertise is a great way to encourage more time outdoors for all the pupils, and being a part of the friends community is the best place to be if you want to support your local school. 

However you choose to help promote outdoor learning in your child's school remember a love of the outdoors can be nurtured at home. The summer holidays is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors or perhaps start a garden project, not only is it fun it’s good for your health too!  

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