I am just analysing data gathered from nature workshops we ran with children with identified behavioural needs.Its just so saddenign and maddening to see the results of our research confirms what we know, that most classroom based learning does not work for many children and that many children learn through making things and learn best of all when in a beautiful natural environment. Quite apart from the physical health benefits and the conservationsist of the future. We need as much research as possible to prove this all over the world.
I do sympathise and agree. When I first became an outdoor learning consultant it's because I liked doing things outside with children. I considered it a "jolly nice" way of delivering the curriculum and meeting children's needs.
I've now changed my opinion substantially. I believe it is a right and necessity for children to learn outside and in natural spaces. I query the "agoraphobic" nature of education. I believe children should have daily time outside for learning and play that needs to be child-centred.
The research is building up. I've found the C&NN research section just brilliant because it periodically updates and adds to the collections - all in bite sized summaries.
I know my views are considered "radical" but then so was the concept of a mobile phone in the Eighties.
So interesting - and yes, sad too. At our preschool we have a free flow indoor / outdoor learning environment and without doubt the kids spend more time outside than in. And they learn! With some of our children who find it more of a challenge to be in group situations or interact with others we often find that a trip down the bush track to the creek with a few trucks and boats calms and absorbs them, and even helps them relate more positively to their peers.
Completely agree and would be very interested in hearing more about the research supporting this notion. We just built an outdoor classroom and nature trail behind my school. My fifth graders did the bulk of the work with the Audubon Society helping out. Some students who hadn't said a word all year really came to life out there. It gave them something else to think about besides video games and TV. Made them--heaven help us--TALK to each other. I can't wait to get my new students out there...well, maybe I can since I'm enjoying my summer vacation outside too much! :)