What is an Outdoor Classroom?
I feel that it is first important to understand what an outdoor classroom is before understanding what the benefits are, how to build and co-construct your own, and what areas of development it impacts.
Teachers, educators, parents/guardians traditionally see a classroom as a place where children learn everything that they need to know to development within the norms and be successful in all areas of life. The idea of an outdoor classroom is that this learning is now being received through play and exploration outdoors using the materials and natural resources available. It’s the belief that through play and exploration in an outdoor classroom that children learn everything that they would learn in a regular classroom but they would master these skills through their own interests and discoveries, which ultimately benefits the children more in the long run.
The following link below will connect you to a great video posted by the outdoor classroom project. This video discusses what an outdoor classroom is all about. It also demonstrates the importance of allowing children to be connected to nature and providing them the space and the time to really explore and discover the world around them. When space, time and materials are provided to children can then begin to enhance their full development in all areas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNgq2WO3mgg
I recently discovered a really great article on Pinterest posted by community playthings titled “What is the Outdoor Classroom?” which helped me to understand this educational style better. http://www.communityplaythings.com/ resources /articles/2013/what-is-the-outdoor-classroom. The article express’s that “children should be able to move seamlessly between indoors and outdoors; their play and learning should be as easy in one place as the other” (Community playthings, 2014). They also outline that outdoor classrooms provide more time for the children to learn, allows large gross motor learning activities, freedom for children to play on their own, and creates an environment that engages the children at a deeper level.
Overall an Outdoor Classroom is a place of learning where children are free to explore and play in the world around them as they please, with the support of a caring and nurturing educator who is not too far behind them.