Helping teachers deliver outdoor learning in the curriculum
Taking the curriculum outside can improve attainment, increase
engagement, and develop a wide range of skills including problem solving,
communication and resilience.
Outdoor learning also provides endless opportunities for experiential,
contextual and applied education.
At a time when we are increasingly concerned about the physical and
emotional wellbeing of our children and young people, and question whether
they will leave education with the skills and competencies they will need
for the future, outdoor learning brings with it a range of benefits which
are now widely evidenced, acknowledged and accepted.
Outdoor Learning is at its most potent when it is interwoven within the
formal school curriculum.
By taking a holistic view of all the environments available – from
school yard to mountain tops – we can maximise the learning potential of
such spaces and our students.
The Institute has a range of resources to support Teachers in bringing
Outdoor Learning into their curriculum. We are strong supporters of the aims
of the government’s
‘nature-friendly schools programme’
announced to create
school grounds that support learning about the natural world and also
keep children happy and healthy.
Horizons Article Archive
Teaching Outdoor Learning
- Making environmental education meaningful (Horizons 32, 2005)
- Hidden messages - teaching fear (Horizons 42, 2008)
Excluded and challenging but able to learn (Horizons 44, 2008)
- Do learners learn what teachers teach? (Horizons 53, 2011)
Some thoughts on getting youngsters out of the classroom (Horizons
Teaching skills as a core part of a school curriculum (Horizons 58,
Taking Learning Outdoors
Making the Leap from outdoor instructing to classroom teaching and
back again (Horizons 46, 2009)
Learning Outside the Classroom... on your doorstep (Horizons 46,
- LOtC... sparkling or still? (Horizons 66, 2014)
Learning beyond the stockade: How schools can create learning areas
in their communities (Horizons 71, 2015)
- This isn’t PE, it’s not physical enough (Horizons 52, 2010
Forest School and the Learning Outside the Classroom manifesto -
what makes it different from all the other outside the classroom
educations? (Horizons 48, 2009)
Boys and girl’s reflections of a 6 week Forest School programme
(Horizons 61, 2013)
Under our own steam: ‘sustainable residential experiences’ what
exactly do we mean? (Horizons 52, 2010)
Evidence for a ‘pathway’ of learning for school children on
residential outdoor education courses (Horizons 67, 2014)
Challenge and residential education experiences (Horizons 69, 2015)
What can accelerate progress and attainment, improve schools and
transform teaching and learning? (Horizons 70, 2015)
- Extending the value of outdoor education (Horizons 54, 2011)
Resources for Teachers
Search the Horizons Article Archive
The searchable database of past Horizons articles provides access to
hundreds of articles on outdoor learning practice that can inspire
thinking and offer solutions to your problems or challenges.
INSET - Enabling Outdoor Learning CPD for Teachers
Designed specifically with schools in mind, IOL provides and accredits
CPD events to give teachers the confidence, skills and ideas to take
teaching out into school yard and local area. Learn More...
National Outdoor Learning Award
This FREE downloadable resource from IOL assists learners to develop
high levels of motivation, esteem, skill, knowledge and desire to
learn. NOLA can be used to recognise and capture the personal
development outcomes of participants during an outdoor learning
Outdoor Education Advisors Panel National Guidance
A key resource from OEAP to support planning and delivery that is
inclusive of the full range of provision for young people, including
by schools, youth services, other formal and informal settings, and
provision in the public, private, voluntary and charitable sectors. It
covers provision across England and Wales. If you are based in
Scotland, please follow this link to the website of the
Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE)
Environmental Learning Handbook
This resource from the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel contains 25
laminated cards that support learning, encourage working together,
promote positive attitudes to the natural environment and an
understanding of a young person’s place within it.
High Quality Outdoor Learning
This booklet from the English Outdoor Council brings together 10 key
outcomes from progressive high quality outdoor learning. An excellent
resource if you need to identify and describe the benefits of outdoor
learning for young people.
IOL 7 Steps to CPD
Use this valuable FREE resource from IOL to reflect on your
professional skills, knowledge and understanding when leading outdoor
learning sessions, and to plan and record your CPD activity.
IOL Accredited Courses
Are you delivering an alternative curriculum that includes preparing
young people to assist and instruct others in outdoor activities? IOL
can accredit your course and give industry credibility to your
Schools Enrichment Booklet
A checklist of activities for children from Reception to Year 6.
Teachers and/or Parents can use this checklist to plan activities or
encourage a child to plan activities for themselves.
Out to Play
A practical guidance for creating outdoor play experiences in early
learning and childcare from the Scottish Government. It is a
step-by-step guide providing practical advice on how to access
outdoors spaces to create safe, nurturing and inspiring outdoor
Outdoor Learning Pack
This Outdoor Learning Pack has been developed by Woodland Trust
Scotland with Forestry Commission Scotland support, this pack helps
primary teachers take the curriculum outside, whether in school
grounds, a local park or nearby patch of woodland. It supports all
stages from planning, activities, evaluation and review.
Risk and Benefit in Outdoor Learning
Nothing Ventured... Balancing risks and benefits in the outdoors aims
to encourage readers to take a reasonable and proportionate approach
to safety in outdoor and adventurous settings, and to reassure them
that managing risks should not be a disincentive to organising
Eco-Schools - Northern Ireland
Going outside does not always have to be about nature studies or
physical education but can complement any lesson; literacy, numeracy,
STEM topics and even ITC. It can also encourage better problem
solving, critical thinking, inquiry skills and self-management in
Books and internet resources to support school-based outdoor learning
works with teachers, both internationally and in the United Kingdom,
to create socially competent, emotionally intelligent, entrepreneurial
young people. We deliver outdoor learning training for teaching staff
in all settings that builds confidence, develops knowledge and skill,
and fosters a whole school approach to outdoor learning.
as bespoke training and consultancy, Maximising Learning also deliver
the Ofqual regulated and IOL Accredited Course
Level 3 Award in Learning Beyond the Classroom.
How to set up a Forest School – from the roots up!
The FSA are delighted to release the first in a series of new, free to
download, booklets that support Forest School practitioners and
participants in taking their first steps on the Forest School journey.
‘How to set up a Forest School from the roots-up!‘ is a concise
resource designed to help you reflect on and consider all aspects of
creating a Forest School, from understanding the principles to working
through your business case. Although aimed at helping people develop
new Forest School settings the booklet may also help existing Forest
Schools to identify issues before they become problems.
A guide to help inspire schools to shift their classroom lessons to
With careful planning and firmly set rules in place, taking your
lessons outside gives your pupils a fully sensory experience that
benefits their wellbeing and cognitive development in lots of
different ways. We’ve put together some ideas for getting outdoors –
and some suggestions if you don’t have available space for outdoor
Why Kids Need to Play in Nature: A Guide
For most of us, being cooped up in our homes since lockdowns began,
we’ve all been missing the outdoors, children especially. Being
outdoors is super important for kids and we’d like to help parents and
teachers understand this fact, and leverage it in school, so we came
up with this guide:
50 ways forest and outdoor learning experiences benefit child