The Importance of Outdoor Learning and Play During the COVID 19 Pandemic
With children returning to school at the beginning of March it is important to look at how Covid-19 has impacted our young people.
Many of our children have been out of school for almost a whole academic year.
Not only has the children’s learning been disrupted - we need to look at the social, behavioural and mental impact the disruption to their learning has had on them.
How Have Children Been Impacted by Home Learning?
For children using on screen learning for their main source of education for the past 12 months this will have had a major impact on their mental and physical health.
Both professionals and parents are concerned about the amount of time they have spent with immediate family, mostly indoors and with minimum contact with the outside world.
A large proportion of children will not have been outside on a daily basis, gone to the park to play, walked down the street to the local shops or played ball with a friend. Instead, many will have literally transitioned from on screen learning to on screen gaming or viewing.
This daily repetitive nature of being sedentary with limited social interaction, if not stopped now could cause long term damage to our children’s social, physical and mental health.
How Can School’s Reverse These Negative Impacts?
This is where schools can help by reintroducing outdoor learning through play upon their return to school.
The Government has committed to support education with a new £700 million recovery package to state primary and secondary schools.
It will focus on implementing one-to-one and small group learning programmes. It will also provide support helping disadvantaged children in early year settings.
The average primary school can gain an extra £6,000 whereas secondary schools will receive around £22,000.
With this in mind, and the opportunity of smaller group lessons, it’s such a great chance to get the children outside and learning.
It has been proven that learning outdoors has many positive effects such as improving children’s self-esteem, conflict resolution, relationships with peers, problem solving, motivation to learn and their behaviour in class, with the follow-on effect of better academic success.
Playground Resources to Implement Outdoor Learning into Daily Lesson Plans
Here at Pentagon, we provide a wide range of outdoor learning products which can enhance your lessons and provide the perfect outside learning facilities to aid your pupil’s growth physically, mentally and socially…
We’ve picked a handful of products out of our extensive range which you could implement into your daily lesson plans:
1. Outdoor Classrooms for Small Focus Groups
Our Outdoor Classrooms products could be used for teachers or TA’s working with small focus groups under a canopy or outdoor shelter.
These can be erected quickly and become an extension of your classroom, as well as a free-flow play environment throughout the year.
2. Physically Challenging Active Play Equipment
Our Active Play products such as Trim Trail could be erected in an unused part of the playground which will physically challenge your children to develop their balance, climbing skills, lower and upper body strength, core stability, co-ordination and gross motor skills as well as increase their communication, relationship building and problem-solving skills.
All the above can be achieved in small or whole class learning groups, where a curriculum-based objective is set and the children challenged to work together to achieve the main learning goal of the lesson.
3. Imaginative Play Equipment for Hands-on learning
Our Imagination and Creative Playground Equipment such as our natural playground equipment could reintroduce children to the “wonders of the natural world” such as animals, minibeasts and plants and how to look after them.
This is fantastic, hands-on learning resource, allows children to reconnect with nature as well as being in their own outdoor science lab.
4. Playground Seating for Inspirational Outdoor Lessons
Our outdoor seating such as our Communication and Language Zone is the perfect way to teach on a one-to-one basis or in small groups.
This is an area where you and the children can sit in a designated outdoor area with all the facilities on hand to really focus on any learning difficulties the children have.
Being in a safe, comfortable and inspirational setting will allow the children to be at ease and therefore ready to learn.
They can grow in confidence, improve their spoken language skills and learn about sharing and turn-taking when reading aloud in our Story Telling Chair.
The children can learn to work as a team, improve their handwriting and spellings as well as increasing their social skills by creating stories together and noting them on the black or white boards provided.
They can then use the area and boards to role play their stories together which increase self-confidence, comprehension skills and literacy.
By implementing outdoor learning into your weekly lesson plans, you will be enabling our children to reconnect with nature, be more physical, be more social, reduce their stress and anxiety, grow in confidence and be more willing to learn.
Could you outdoor learning and play environment do with a refresh to enable your teachers to implement outdoor learning into their daily lesson plans?