Learning with the whole body and with all the sensations fosters the children's development and supports their curiosity and consciousness of nature. To be around nature benefits upgrowth in a physical, behavioural and cognitive way and creates a greater understanding for the natural environment itselfs. 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.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education for preschool teachers” took place in Bologna from 01/05/2023 to 04/05/2023. This time, we had the pleasure to welcome a smiley group of preschool teachers from Onderwijsinrichtingen Zusters der Christelijke Scholen (Belgium) with Veerle, Inge, An, Eveline, Laura, Edith, Denise, Valerie, Ilse, Tina, Ann, Evelien, Eva, Laura, Kathleen, Anja, Christa and Alain.
We started from the roots. First the participants received a short introduction to the Italian school system and together we discussed the differences between it and the belgium system. Afterwards we deep dived into our course topic: Outdoor education. Together we established definitions of what outdoor education is and how it affects the pupils and the teachers. Furthermore the exchange of benefits of teaching outdoors arises. Proper experiences were shared but also doubts and obstacles which occurred in daily school life. We discussed them sincerely and the participants learned how to manage lessons outdoors in a new way by being aware of obstacles and being prepared for the unseen. .
In the end of this part of the course we came up with an even stronger opinion, that outdoor education is an absolutely important educational offer which should be provided. And from now on the participants can confront concerns about outdoor education in a more effective way. Another part of the course was focused on practising activities in a natural environment - in a local park: Villa Ghigi. The teachers obtained new impulses for teaching methods outdoors, while they execute them on their own. This was a lot of fun and enriched the repertoire of natural activities, despite the rainy weather!
Learning and exercising in nature surely must be secure and for that we invented suitable solutions to make outdoor education safe as well as joyful for everyone. Therefore the participants explored in a practical task the natural environment around and observed and identified possible risks for the kids and afterwards they invented manageabilities to prevent possible incidents. This practical approach allowed them to acquire useful knowledge to plan a safe outdoor activity for their pupils.
On the last day the group got in touch with the outdoor education system of a local kindergarten: Naturalmente Bambini. During the visit, they had the chance to experience an efficient example of outdoor learning by observing the kids in the environment and asking questions to the educators. This allowed them to see how all the theories, discussions and ideas we have had during the week can be implemented in real preschool life.
Taking everything together, this course offered the participants to emerge deeper into outdoor education: with practical implementations as well as basic and prescient organisation planning. All the exercises are able to replicate in any environment, in the woods as well as in the playground, the important thing is that we go outside and give the pupils the opportunity to feel, observe and live in an environment they are conscious and curious about. So, they will respect and protect it .
Thank you for participating!
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.