Beyond the confines of the classroom there are endless opportunities for learning. Taking education to the great outdoors is a concept that is gaining more and more credence in academic circles. Now considered an essential part of a child’s education, outdoor learning engages and enhances a child’s academic experiences and quite possibly, in some cases and with some children, has more of an impact than hours spent in a classroom.
Outdoor learning not only teaches children about the world around them but also provides them with important life lessons that they will carry with them forever. Hopefully these lessons will lead them to become responsible citizens in the future. When children are having fun they often don’t even realise that they are learning in parallel and equally as important as school lessons are the outdoor activities and experiences that children get involved with outside of term time, enabling them to grow up to be well-rounded and conscientious human beings.
One of the best ways for children to connect with nature, animals and conservation is for them to visit to one of the great safari parks in England, where kids are positively encouraged to get hands on with exciting, interactive experiences. Of course, it is not just nature that children will learn about on such an outing; when free to explore, kids become more engaged and motivated to understand and learn.
An easy outdoor lesson and something which can be done in all types of environments is maths. Difficult concepts that some kids will struggle with in the classroom suddenly become crystal clear when applied to a real-life situation. All that is required is a little imagination from a responsible adult and there are limitless resources to make learning relevant.
Maths is everywhere with the opportunity to discover 2D and 3D shapes or calculate the height of a tree using trigonometry. Within a safari park environment, shapes and sizes of animals can be compared. Alternatively, trying to spot and count the numbers of monkeys in the trees would be an enormously fun activity for a younger child. A pattern hunt would encourage children to really examine the different animals and the way they have adapted to their environment.
Learning opportunities all around
Looking at the habitats of the animals and how they are contained, children will be able to understand how different heights of fence are required for different purposes. They might also appreciate why fencing is sometimes required in a different strength, thickness or density. The park itself is also a classroom, comparing the different sizes and shapes of leaves and finding their area or looking at the circumference of trees, with some small enough to be encircled by a child’s arms and others too big for even the largest adult.
Such experiences will develop mathematical, scientific and creative skills. When children get home they could write a story about their trip, perhaps in the form of a diary entry that could be developed into an imaginative piece whereby they place themselves in a real-life safari adventure.
So, if you think that a child’s education stops when they leave the classroom then perhaps you need to think again. A parent has the opportunity to enhance his child’s learning as part of everyday activities, day trips, holidays or simply walking down the street and noticing the even numbers of buildings on one side and odd numbers on the other. The resources and opportunities are endless, as is a child’s ability to learn given the right tools and encouragement.