The word “education” makes us think of a process that generally takes place at home and at school, in a closed and reserved environment. However, education is something that has to do with the outside world, with situations that are out of home and school. Is it enough, therefore, to educate children in an environment that only partially reflects the world in which they must learn to live? An all-round education should, perhaps, be broader, adapting itself to the new needs of our times.
This need is met by outdoor education, a term that refers to all educational activities carried out outdoors not only by schools, but also by associations and local authorities.
Outdoor education is based on the direct contact with nature, promoting on the one hand the social skills of children, who interact outside the usual classroom, and on the other hand encouraging the respect for the environment. In fact, thanks to these activities, children begin to have a deeper vision and awareness of themselves and the world around them.
In fact, there is a big difference between talking about respect for the environment inside a classroom and taking children outdoors, guiding them to a new discovery of nature based on direct experience and, consequently, on respect.
But what exactly does this type of education consist of? What are the activities that children can practice in this new context?
There are many online websites regarding outdoor learning, such as “SolarDome”, offering a wide range of outdoor activities for students at any age and school grade. There you can find different sections: Nature and wildlife classroom resources, Environmental classroom resources, and Food and health classroom resources.
There are, for example, ideas regarding yoga outdoors, to promote concentration and increase attention before a class, as well as to help children and teenagers to release tension. Another possible activity concerns the education of children in proper recycling through a team game. Moreover, there are some suggestions for teaching mathematics to children in the open air, through the guided use of their body. There are activities which use sport as a tool to encourage children to reflect on their rights and respect each other, making them, for example, realize how wrong and painful bullying can be. You can also find resources for activities aiming at educating people to respect the environment by stimulating the skills and creativity of girls and boys, to enhance teamwork, and to share emotions and experiences.
The platform “SolarDome” offers many free resources available to teachers, educators, parents and students to make education a varied experience in contact with the world. Nevertheless, you can find many other websites offering ideas and resources for this stimulating kind of activity.