June 2024 Newsletter – Outdoor Explorations: Maximizing the Learning Potential of Your Outdoor Space

Maximizing the Learning Potential of Your Outdoor Space

The benefits of outdoor learning for young children has been widely researched and documented. The use of our outdoor spaces for more than just physical play is crucial to our preschooler’s development. What do we do to help facilitate and provide these outdoor  opportunities? How do we maximize the learning potential of our outdoor spaces?

The quality of the outdoor experiences we give our students depends on how we optimize our outdoor spaces. There are many ways we can enhance our spaces for a better outdoor learning experience. Using different sized spaces for different activities provides the flexibility needed to tailor the lesson and experiences to your student’s needs. Using portable equipment also helps in  maximizing the flexibility of your outdoor space. Explore if it is viable to have use of communal and public spaces. Incorporating children’s ideas in the use of outdoor spaces empowers them and creates interest in the lessons you want to teach. It is also important to set up the spaces considering the different ability and needs of the children.

The outdoors presents opportunities for freedom, adventure, risk taking, creativity and imagination. Outdoor settings allow children to learn new concepts and skills through first hand experience. In outdoor spaces we need to try and promote children’s autonomy and choice. We can promote this autonomy considering open ended activities, materials, and the set up of the space. Educators can observe student’s interest and ideas and support the children in how they  express them. Children’s conceptual knowledge and skills can also be developed outdoors.  Considering student’s prior knowledge, skills, and interests, and the intended learning goals, planning for activities, spaces, and resources to support learning, and facilitating learning through  intentional questioning and modeling will help develop the skills and knowledge the students need.  When maximizing our outdoor space for additional learning opportunities we need to ensure the  safety of our space. Risks pose challenges ans uncertainties, but are an essential part of growth  and learning. The goal is not to remove all risk but to manage them by considering the many  hazards. Risks and potential hazards can be systemically managed and is a crucial component of outdoor learning spaces. Consideration needs to be taken for who will be present and their roles during outdoor explorations. Making sure the environment where the outdoor activity is being  conducted is free of hazards is of great importance. The equipment used for the activity needs to ensure the children’s safety, well being, and learning. The process of the outdoor activity needs to be consider, preparation and the steps to be taken for conducting the outdoor activity need to be followed in order to maximize the learning potential of the activity. There are many resources found online with activities and lessons, and ways to creatively use the outdoor spaces available to your students.

 

For the main article Outdoors Explorations, CLICK HERE

For the article What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning and Explorations?, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips for Creating Meaningful Outdoor Experiences for Preschoolers, CLICK HERE

For the article The Importance of Outdoor Explorations, CLICK HERE