Outdoor classrooms in school grounds
What do you think of when you see the phrase ‘outdoor classroom’? Maybe a gazebo in the school grounds, a portacabin transformed for outdoor learning, a covered seating area or even just a group of benches arranged to create a gathering area? Gatherings spaces are certainly important but we think of these as just part of your outdoor classroom, which we believe is your whole school grounds!
Your outdoor classroom is the space you take your pupils into, to experience the seasons, mark out shadows in the grounds, write poems about the creatures that live there, collect data from experiments or to discover which pollinating insects visit your site. It is the place they experience nature, they learn about friendships and discover more about themselves as well as the world around them. It is a place to grow in – that might be growing crops, wildflowers, trees or even livestock – but it is always a place where your pupils will grow. Your outdoor classroom is so much more than a classroom outdoors.
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The best outdoor classroom is….?
In order to make your grounds work as a place for teaching and learning and a place for pupils to socialise with their friends a gathering space, or even better several of them, is essential. But before you look to the catalogues to search out a high-spec classroom with power, light and heating think about what experiences you want your pupils to have and what are the key features you need for that to happen. Do you need a highly insulated cabin that just happens to be detached from your school building or would you do better creating a simpler spaces to take a class, to get them closer to nature, to create informal spaces to talk with friends and to feel part of the wider world around them?
So, get out into your outdoor classroom, your school grounds, and remember why you wanted to take your pupils out in the first place!