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As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, spring and summer provide the perfect environment for students to experience outdoor learning. The vibrant new leaves on trees and plants and the colourful flowers could complement your art classes, identifying minibeasts could add excitement to your science lessons, and reading outside could offer inspiration for English classes.

The Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Research has shown that children who spend time in nature see improvements in various aspects of their lives, including school attendance, behaviour, academic achievement, and motivation1. These activities could also impact children’s development of social and collaborative skills2. Outdoor learning is an opportunity to be inventive with your lessons – carry on as usual but in a dynamic and hands-on way. See below for some handy tips on how to transform the outdoors into a classroom.

Spring and Summer Activities

During these seasons, schools can organise a range of activities that promote learning through nature. If you’re a member of Climate Education, these activities can also be included in your Action Plan.

  • Nature Walks and Scavenger Hunts: Encourage children to observe the local plants and wildlife, noting any changes as the seasons progress. You can complete your own Bio-Blitz in your school grounds – members can access this resource here.
  • Gardening Projects: Teach the basics of gardening by having students plant and care for a school garden. You could even start an afterschool gardening club.
  • Environmental Science Projects: Use the outdoors to study ecosystems, weather patterns, and more. You can also explore our Wildlife Corridor Resources as a Member of Climate Education, or access our free Understanding Trees Webinar.
  • Art and Literature Inspired by Nature: Take your students into the natural environment to inspire creative writing and art projects.

Other Curriculum-based Activities: You can also take lessons that may appear unrelated outside. For example, why not incorporate a scavenger hunt with maths questions?

Building a Connection with Nature

Using the ideas above not only supports academic learning but also deepens student’s respect for (and connection with) the natural environment, which is important to nurture from a young age. As students learn about the world around them, they also become more likely to engage in environmentally conscious behaviours, such as recycling and conservation efforts, as they grow up.

Going Further

Get engaged in your natural environment by taking part in Outdoor Classroom Day on Thursday 23rd May.

Knowing how our day-to-day lives can affect the environment is vital to understand our personal impact. One way to filter this information down to students is to ensure your teachers are Carbon Literate. Read our Understanding Carbon article here. You can also find inspiration from nature by utilising PECT’s Nature’s School activities – they are free and link nicely with each season.

Members Only: Want to embed Outdoor Learning into your lessons? Check out our Natural Environment resources in your members areas. Struggling for funding? We update our list of new funding opportunities to support you on your outdoor learning journey regularly! Make sure to check your dashboard for the latest funding posts.

1Natural England, 2016

2Frontiers of Public Health, 2022

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