Outdoor education and recreation can have a huge impact on the growth and development of a child. Adventurous activities such as canyoning, gorge walking, bushcraft and white water rafting are fun-filled outdoor pursuits that enhance various essential skills – focused learning, problem solving, team building and motivation. How? Children are able to explore their limits and overcome fears, bond with classmates and of course, enjoy a few hours of adrenaline fuelled fun whilst at the same time increasing their confidence! Building self-confidence and self-esteem is fundamental to any young person’s development.
Participation in exciting outdoor activities with teachers and class mates reinforces a positive attitude to education and contributes significantly to the general ethos of a school or youth group. Children generally make good progress in outdoor education, both at school and outdoor centres. They develop their physical skills in new and demanding situations as well as exercising important social skills such as teamwork and leadership.
When learning outside the classroom, children’s attitudes and behaviour change dramatically. This is mainly because children are enjoying themselves, responding maturely to challenging activities so that they can succeed in their activity. Children may also behave well in case there are more chances for them coming along to an activity day again!
Experience of outdoor learning provides great opportunities for personal and social development through carefully structured group work in challenging situations. Trust, care, tolerance and the willingness to give and accept support are all encouraged and anti-social behaviour is challenged. Opportunities are presented to exhibit and develop effective inter-personal behaviour and to work co-operatively and effectively in teams.
Outdoor education introduces young people to a range of worthwhile leisure pursuits which will enrich their future lives, and develops the skills and knowledge essential for safe participation. Outdoor exercise contributes greatly to health and fitness and continuing participation in outdoor pursuits encourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle into middle age and beyond.
Outdoor learning is fundamental to adding depth to the school curriculum and makes an important contribution to students’ physical, personal and social education.