Creating outdoor classrooms and the perfect outdoor learning space depends on the needs of the school or nursery, children and teachers. Over the years Sylvan Skills has helped to develop many educational outdoor areas. We have built hazel and living willow structures for storytelling and fire pit areas, fences and hurdles surrounding nursery gardens.
It has been our experience that including children in the creation of their future outdoor spaces improves their problem-solving and fine motor skills and creates a very valuable hands-on experience. It is also a great way to boost their confidence, independence and creativity. Find out more in our blog article from January 2021.
Children spend less time outdoors than ever before which affects their development, health and wellbeing. It is therefore important to motivate them from a young age to go outside, bond and interact with nature. Through outdoor classrooms they can learn about nature, surrounded by nature and natural materials which increase their sensual impressions.
Research has shown that school performance increases when children learn outdoors. It improves their interpersonal behaviour, enthusiasm and attendance. Learning outdoors is often more active, increases physical, mental and social health and decreases stress levels of all participants. In these times meeting outdoors also helps stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Outdoor classrooms are popular…
Outdoor classrooms are a great and increasingly popular way to enable outdoor education, supporting children’s emotional, behavioural and intellectual development. When planning outdoor learning spaces it is important to choose a location which is accessible to all, minimises distraction and offers plenty of shade. The ideal setup enables the children’s communication skills, autonomy, collaboration and self-confidence. It will add to their motivation, personal development and well-being, increase their physical activity and learning outcomes.
In Gateshead Sylvan Skills contributed to a quiet Chinese school garden for reflection and contemplation and at St Teresa’s school in Newcastle we created a prayer garden.
Here you can read more about the Chinese dragon which Sylvan Skills brought to life for the school garden at St Aidan’s.
A further example for an educational outdoor area is Eye on the Sky in Rooms with a View which Sylvan Skills created on the National Trust site in Gibside in 2017. The structure offers a new experience of space, vision and discovery and is regularly used by visiting school groups.
Are you planning on building an outdoor classroom or learning area? We are always happy to give advice and discuss ideas! Just get in touch.
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