Learning Outside the Classroom: every space is a learning space
Recently, we were awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge, but what does this really mean? Is outdoor learning vital to a child’s development? And what about the teachers? Read on to find out more…
What is the LOtC Quality Badge?
The award is the first and only nationally-recognised award which combines the essential elements of provision – learning and safety – into one easily recognisable and trusted accreditation scheme.
Why learn outside the classroom?
Direct experience is at the centre of the LOtC. It’s not about what we learn, but about how and where we learn.
Studies have provided compelling evidence to suggest learning outside the classroom helps children and young people both physically and mentally.
What’s more, simply being outside the classroom garners more excitement in pupils, helping with their attention and concentration levels.
“The trip has had a huge impact on students. It was the talk of the classroom until the end of the term, and the use of related project work allowed students to absorb both the experience and the related learning and ensure that life-long memories have been made!”
Mr Letham, Head Teacher, Orchard Head Primary, Pontefract
The benefits of learning outside the classroom
Of course, the primary benefit of learning outside the classroom is how it affects the mentality of children.
As already mentioned, pupils often have more enjoyment from being outdoors. Independent reports show that pupils are more enthusiastic and more willing to learn as a result. The same reports suggest that, even when pupils return to the classroom, they show an improved standard of attainment, motivation, and behaviour towards learning.
It’s been well-documented that many of us take more from kinetic learning. Imagine yourself as one of your pupils for a moment. What mode of learning would you prefer; to learn about rock formations in the classroom, or to go to the rock formation in-person and learn about it there?
The LOtC finds a mix of the two. On our caving courses, we take school and youth groups deep into complex caving systems.
Here, pupils learn what’s required as per the curriculum but do so in a real-life environment.
What do teachers say?
For teachers, learning in real-life environments often makes it easier to teach. Instead of attempting to garner enthusiasm for learning, the outdoors helps children motivate themselves.
This improved attitude to learning then rubs off on others, helping the class as a whole be more determined and interested.
“The school hadn’t organised a day like this before, and normally things come with some teething problems, but the activities, staff and equipment provided by Lost Earth Adventures surpassed all expectations!”
Matthew Letham, Head Teacher, Orchard Head Primary, Pontefract
“Many thanks to your teams for a fantastic weekend, the instruction from your team was excellent and they adapted the weekend to the needs and ability of our group perfectly. It has left us hungry for more!”
N Croker, Geography Department, Whitgift School
Though some teachers think outdoor learning is not inclusive to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), the reality is quite different. As part of the LOtC Quality Badge, those accredited must understand and meet the needs of education providers. As holders of the award, we endeavour to provide activities that can be undertaken by everybody.
This level of inclusivity also applies to those from disadvantaged backgrounds – by providing all equipment, for instance. While learning inside the classroom may fail to include disadvantaged children, outdoor learning is proven to increase their self-esteem, confidence and overall engagement.
What is Ofsted’s view?
As LOtC Quality Badge and AALA license holders, you can have absolute trust in our ability to deliver outdoor learning that is safe and conducive to this development.
The LOtC and Lost Earth Adventures
We create learning environments where all children can thrive. Working alongside schools, colleges, and universities, we deliver all types of outdoor learning. We also provide Public Services courses and Adventure Training for cadets.
“We were so impressed with this year’s trip that we would like to book again for next year.” Kim Kileen, Solihull College