Since prehistory, being in contact with nature has had a significant positive effect on how humans develop cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally. Even today, taking a walk in the outdoors or enjoying a natural or urban landscape can inspire, frighten, or even affect you. Providing long-lasting, high-quality education and promoting awareness of the significance of protecting our planet in the face of the terrifying threat of climate change can be addressed through the unique teaching strategy known as outdoor education.
The new edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 21/11/2022 to 26/11/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with iří Ducháček and Martin Koláček from ZŠ a MŠ Štefcova in Czech Republic, Irena Ose and Daila Notte from Liepaja Liedaga secondary school in Latvia, Virpi Jussila from Environmental School of Finland (SYKLI) in Finland, Sandra Ķirule, Indra Podziņa, Ieva Bulava, and Karīna Putniņa from Siguldas novada pašvaldīb in Latvia, Anita Bočak and Ivana Vučić from Osnovna škola Ivana Mažuranića Vinkovci in Croatia, Inara Jasvina and Diāna Zahareviča from Daugavpils Valstspilsetas vidusskola from Latvia.
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 outdoor, which doesn’t imply to always be in nature and forests. Indeed, we dedicated one part of the training to Urban Outdoor Education in the city. The participants learned to teach subjects like science, maths, music, art, language and more by testing activities which guided their attention to the surroundings.
The use of numerous tools in a natural setting in nearby parks was the subject of another section of the course. All of the tested games and activities were well received and inspired our participants to design their own Outdoor activity in addition to sharing their own with the rest of the group.
Participants also explored the concepts of Non Formal Education (NFE), a pedagogical approach in which many of the outdoor activities fall in. This method centres the learning process around the actual experiences that students have while carrying out a task or an activity. They are able to relate the new knowledge they have learned to their life and apply it by following the complete cycle and making sure we ask our children the appropriate reflecting questions.
Indeed, the last part of the course was dedicated to designing an outdoor experience ad hoc for each participant’s target group. Each participant created an outdoor lesson based on the subjects explored during the week: each teacher meticulously organised the lesson and presented it to the other course participants.
his past week served as a prime illustration of the effectiveness of experience outdoor learning. Thanks to our practical methods, participants got a firsthand look at what an outdoor education activity is like and learned the skills they need to participate in one.
During this course participants were able to explore a vast series of activities and games that they will be able to replicate with their students, showing that learning doesn’t happen only inside a classroom!
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.