Opportunities to get pupils outside for teaching and learning activities are always chances to enhance engagement, as well as encouraging positive health and wellbeing for all. Although some school setting have limited outdoor spaces, there are always opportunities to take most subject learning outside.
In a fantastic series of books, Sue Waite, Michelle Roberts and Deborah Lambert provide inspiration for primary teachers to use outdoor contexts as part of their everyday teaching and showcase how headteachers can embed curriculum teaching outside throughout the school, whilst protecting teaching time and maintaining high-quality teaching and performance standards.
Each book is packed full of ideas and inspiration, initially exploring assessment opportunities and health & safety considerations. However, the bulk of the books then progress onto ideas on how to move learning outdoors for the key subjects (English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, Art & Design, Design & Technology, Languages, Music and Religious Education). The authors look to explore all outdoor opportunities that could be available to teachers to safely ensure that learning is enhanced, memorable and worthwhile. One main consideration given in the books is about the resources required for outdoor learning opportunities, and some planning for activities is, obviously, necessary.
With more people now acknowledging that staying indoors is less desirable in group situations, these books are perfectly timed encouraging schools and teachers to consider opportunities to take the classroom outdoors. There are schools where outdoor learning opportunities are limited (inner-city schools near busy roads, for example), but taking the time to explore other outdoor spaces is essential to help develop emotionally and physically healthy young people. The time required to explore the risk-assessment will pay off, and this series of books are a welcome complement to any primary school teacher who is determined to take learning outside to help the teaching and learning experiences more meaningful and memorable.