As lockdown continues we know it is taking a toll on children, families and teachers. We know many schools are actively trying to support learning outdoors, as a way to decrease screen time and make learning fun.
But we also know some families struggle with the demands of this.
Today we share our top 3 tips to try and make life easy for all!
Tip 1 – Link the Tasks
Where you can, use themes to link up the learning. If all the children have a similar task and a school helps a parent understand how to support the differing levels of learning in the family, outdoor learning suddenly becomes a lot easier.
For example, you could set a number hunt task. For young children it could be as simple as identifying numbers, children in the middle school could use it to practice their times tables by multiplying together the numbers they find and an older children could be practising finding the root or squaring a number etc. It is all very easy, very manageable but takes away so much pressure.
One school we are working with is using this approach to simplify and reduce planning for everyone. The teachers have paired up, a teacher from the lower and upper ends of the school are working together. They plan the core task and then how to differentiate it to make it simple for the younger years and more complex for the older children. They then share this with all the children in the school for their outdoor afternoon each week. The next week it is another pair of teachers who team up, reducing the workload for all.
Tip 2 – All in the Timing
Instead of setting complex tasks that take time, can we set simple tasks that can be completed close to home, or where materials can be collected and the activity completed back at home?
We need to remember that a lot of parent’s are juggling a lot at the moment and whilst lengthy tasks might seem fun, and often are, they can also be an additional stress.
In addition to this, setting an outdoor learning task in the morning and expecting it to be carried out the same day can cause headaches.
One school we are working with now set the task on the Friday with the aim of it being completed by the following Friday. This allows a full 7 days and is much easier to fit in. The result of this has seen a lot more families participating in the outdoor learning tasks.
Tip 3 – Link it to the Curriculum
Often, parents can look at outdoor learning as play and not an educational activity. There are 3 things we can do about this.
First off, we need to help parents understand that play is learning, even Albert Einstein saw the worth in it!
Then, we need to think about the language we use to describe it. Is a group of children building a den or are they constructing an engineering project and developing their team work and communication skills? Which description highlights the learning?
And finally, we can use outdoor learning to support the curriculum. Curriculum based outdoor learning takes your outcomes from across the curriculum and delivers them in a slightly new way.
We would love to hear what your tips are for outdoor learning in lockdown. What makes your families lives easier?
Love Outdoor Learning offer a range of support for curriculum based outdoor learning within the school, both in primary and secondary. Our membership resource offers training and lesson ideas throughout the curriculum and we regularly share blogs with new activity ideas and thoughts on outdoor learning. We can also offer on-site training and support.
Our aim is to help support as many educators as possible. We offer free support calls to help schools understand how we can support them in their learning journey. If you wish to book one just jump over to our diary.