Fresh air is always a good idea. Outdoor education is an innovative teaching approach that offers the possibility to address two of the most important topics of today’s society: providing long-lasting high quality education and raising awareness on the importance of preserving our planet in the face of the daunting threat of climate change. And with the rise of outdoor schools you might ask yourself the question: is it actually possible to organise a classroom in nature? This week we proved that it can, in fact, be done!
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 15/05/2022 to 21/05/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Maarja Vindi and Margit Rosse from Anni Lasteaed school in Estonia; Andreja Ocvirk, Mateja Bevc, Urška Podčedenšek, Helena Gornjak from Osnovna šola Blaža Kocena Ponikva in Slovenia; Elissavet- Evangelia Tsakanika, Paraskevi Manopoulou, Artemis Deligianni from IONIDIOS MODEL EXPERIMENTAL LYCEUM in Greece; Margareta Cahunek from Kindergarten "Tratinčica" in Croatia; Marijana Kosturik from OŠ Vladimira Nazora Pazin in Croatia; Melanie Dujardin, Katia Victor, Els Devits from Freinet kindcentrum De Tandem in Belgium; and Žiedė Marcinkevičienė, Eglė Supronaitė from Kauno Valdorfo darželis "Šaltinėlis" in Lithuania.
Starting from the definition of Outdoor Education, we explored the diverse ways in which we can guide our students to come in contact with the outdoors, which doesn’t imply to be always in nature and forests; a part of our course was dedicated to Urban Outdoor Education, to show that teaching outdoors can really be done anywhere.
The next day participants experienced the outdoors by going to a huge park in Bologna (Villa Ghigi), where they could try out different activities and learn about the Bologna experience with OE. The teachers got an opportunity to change perspective to that of their students, when they were doing exercises like 10 quests, performative recreation of a story, stress release, or activities that they came up with themselves! During the course everyone had a lot of fun, as the next day was spent on a treasure hunt inside the building. The point of the hunt was to learn about the principles of experiential learning, to really confirm how important it is for children to learn by doing things on their own.
On that note, we continued with the topic, and learned how to use an app tool that helps to organise such treasure hunts. First, the participants got to partake in a hunt in the centre of Bologna. Later in the day we taught them how to make their own route in their own cities!
Our last day consisted of the group coming up with their own games and activities designed specifically for their target group. We created garden maps, and brainstormed on how to use what we could find.
Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. Just before the final ceremony, we got to know each other a little better, as participants presented their schools and students.
During this course, the group was able to explore different ways and perspectives that they will surely pass onto their pupils to show them that learning doesn’t have to happen only in the classroom!
Discover more about this course at https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/outdoor-education.html