Throughout human history, our connection with the outdoors has profoundly shaped our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development. Today, the power of nature still inspires, influences, and motivates us. Outdoor education, an innovative teaching approach, addresses two pressing societal imperatives: delivering enduring, top-notch education and fostering a heightened awareness of our responsibility to safeguard the planet amid the looming specter of climate change.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 01/10/2023 07/10/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with José and Antonio from CEIP César Manrique Cabrera in Lanzarote (Spain), Kristína from C. S. Lewis Bilingual High School in Slovakia, Jan, Ann Magrith and Åse from Heistad Primary school in Norway and their project partners Anja, Jasna and Bojana from Slovenia and Ineta and Ieva from Valmiera Gaujas krasta secondary school-development center in Latvia.
Commencing with an understanding of Outdoor Education, we embarked on a journey to discover the different ways we can immerse our students in the outdoors. First of all, participants had the chance to discover the main benefits of OE and why it’s essential that students learn how to care for the natural world. Another essential element of the course involved honing skills and techniques in natural environments found within local parks. The games and activities explored during this phase were met with enthusiasm, igniting not only the desire to share them with peers but also to innovate and create personalized outdoor educational experiences.
An important aspect that participants learnt this week is that Outdoor Education is not solely about venturing into forests but it can be implemented even in areas that are easier of safer to reach such as the school playground or the centre of a town. In order to demonstrate this, we also delved into the concept of Urban Outdoor Education through a treasure hunt in the centre of Bologna.
On the last day of the course, educators were tasked with crafting tailor-made outdoor experiences for their specific target groups. Armed with a deep understanding of outdoor learning key elements, insights into Kurt Hahn's ten principles, and exposure to a diverse array of urban and natural activities, each teacher meticulously planned and presented an outdoor lesson. These sessions were finely attuned to their students' age, skill levels, and the subject matter they sought to address, with the added benefit of valuable feedback from their peers. This week proved the efficacy of experiential outdoor learning, granting participants a tangible sense of what outdoor education entails and arming them with the expertise to create similar experiences for their own students.
Throughout this course, participants explored a rich tapestry of activities and games that will breathe life into their classrooms, underscoring the idea that learning knows no bounds and thrives beyond the traditional classroom setting. Thank you to all participants for their active engagement and enthusiasm in the course!
Discover more about this course here
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.