Have you ever been positively intimidated by how great, powerful, secret and mystical nature can be? Have your thoughts and feeling ever been inspired by some great urban or natural views, when you were visiting a city or maybe walking barefoot on the beach? If you have (and I am pretty sure at some point in your life you did), you know how good it can make you feel.
Surely, contact with the outdoor has a considerable positive impact on the cognitive, behavioural and emotional development of human beings since prehistory. So, how can we bring this into our classes, or rather better: how can we take our classes into the outdoor?
During our training course in Tenerife from 27/06 to 03/07, Kristina (from Osnovna šola Marije Vere, Slovenia), Ulrike and Verena (from BG Rein, Austria), Evgeniya, Polina and Kapka (from Kindergarten "Bratya Grimm", Bulgaria), Agnieszka, Grażyna and Krzysztofa (from Szkola Podstawowa nr 4 Mysłowice, Poland) and Magdalena (from Šolski center Postojna, Slovenia) tried to reply to this guiding question by exploring different aspects of Outdoor Education.
On Monday the team got familiar with the basic theory of Outdoor Education, fixing in their minds the most important concept: Outdoor Education must be “In”, “About” and/or “For” the outdoor. After that, they engaged with Educational space planning: we went in a garden and started to look at the place from a educational point of view.
The following day was possibly the highlight of the week: after a trekking which guided us in a beautiful and wild beach where not much human contamination was visible, we engaged in one activity after the other, until it was time to walk back home. This practical day brought much inspiration to our teachers, who were starting to collect ideas in view of the final activity of Friday.
On Wednesday we explored concepts and game of Non Formal Education (NFE), a pedagogical approach in which many of the outdoor activities falls in.
Nevertheless, outdoor education doesn’t need only wild nature and forests to be implemented. Also urban contexts can help us doing outdoor education, and this was precisely the topic discussed on Thursday. By engaging in a urban treasure hunt trekking, our team of teachers had the chance to get new perspectives on how to use the urban environment in which we live for educational purposes.
The culminating moment of the week was our last day: after getting so much inspiration and testing so many activities, it was time for our teachers to put their newly acquired knowledge to test and come up with a tool/an activity entirely designed on their own. At the end of the day, they had the chance to present it to each other and praising each other’s works. We concluded our beautiful week by individually creating a collage which expressed feelings about the week and plans for the future. Every collage was special and unique, but they all had one thing in common: the eagerness to go home and put to test everything learned during this amazing week together.
The Trainer - Giulia Zambon