Today we recover a very interesting program that helped kids developing their skills in outside environments. Outdoor education teacher, Adam Argento, was aiming to raise $2545 for the school’s “Quest” program, which combined self-directed learning through outdoor education with the goal of developing leadership skills in Black Diamond High School students.
The money was raised using the crowdfunding for education website “My Class Needs”.
The website, My Class Needs provided learning support for students aged 4 to 18 years in Canadian publicly-funded schools by connecting K-12 classrooms with innovative technology.
How important is outside learning for kids?
First of all, why teach outdoors?
What are the benefits for children’s learning?
There are several ways to answer this question:
- Why not teach outdoors? It is worth remembering that it was only in the context of recent generations that we began to incorporate learning in closed spaces, in classrooms. For most of our history, we have learned predominantly outdoors, playing and mirroring the examples given by our family members and other adults in our community.
- There is a lot of research showing that children benefit from learning and playing outdoors. A summary of this can be found on the Children and Nature Network website. But if you observe children playing in a natural space you can already witness these results: children who spend more time in nature appear to be more physically active, have better coordination, are able to solve problems, self-regulate, demonstrate more independence, and are more sociable.
- Another point is: what you do not know, you do not miss. That is, children who do not have the opportunity to play in nature, do not know what they are missing. This also means that they do not know the value of nature, except in a superficial way. Therefore, they cannot understand why they care for the environment and have an emotional or spiritual connection with the earth. Also, when you hear educators talking about the skills needed in the 21st century – such as creativity, problem-solving skills or resilience – they are talking about skills that are precisely developed through play and outdoor learning.