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 47, 2009)
- Teaching skills as a core part of a school curriculum (Horizons 58, 2012)
Taking Learning Outdoors
- Making the Leap from outdoor instructing to classroom teaching and back again (Horizons 46,
- Learning Outside the Classroom... on your doorstep (Horizons 46, 2012)
- 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
- 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
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 school’s approach.
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 learning
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
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
Maximising 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 well as bespoke training and consultancy, Maximising Learning also deliver the Ofqual regulated and IOL Accredited
Course Level 3 Award in Learning Beyond the Classroom.