Top three tips when planning an outdoor lesson 

26th April 2018

If you are new to the field of outdoor learning and play, these wise words from Andy Fitton will help you prepare for your first Outdoor Classroom Day. Keep these three key principles in mind, and prepare to be amazed at the results!

Andy Fitton is a teaching assistant at Springwood Primary School in Swinton, United Kingdom. You can usually find him outside. He offers three tips on how to be prepared for the unpredictable when planning an outdoor lesson.

1. Prepare for wet weather

It may sound obvious, but it is especially important to prepare for wet weather when you have no roof over your head, no rug under your feet and no walls surrounding you. It’s usually then that the weather decides it would be a great time to kick up a storm, quite literally. As of writing this, a storm is blowing in and we’ve decided to bring the children in from their outdoor learning session. There comes a point when you realise that discretion is better than valour.

Make sure the children have suitable clothing and so do you. Generally, if a mild rain cloud hovers over your activities “waterproofs” and wellies will be enough gear to not allow some rain to interrupt your outdoor activities. It’s also advisable to have a spare set of dry clothes to change into if the weather does decide to take a turn for the wet.

2. Be adaptable 

It can easily happen. You plan an activity that you believe is going to be epic. You spend time planning it, getting all the resources together and even have the temerity to buy new equipment for. Yet sometimes circumstances conspire to cut your activity short. Have no fear. Usually this causes you to have an unscheduled event that leads to a great learning experience. Sometimes you’ve got to know when to be adaptable and change the focus. As long as the children are learning and a lesson is taking place, then you’re on to a winner.

Sometimes it’s looking at what the individual child is engaging in rather than the group that takes your focus. Other times you’ve got to know when to direct the children’s attention toward what you had originally planned.

3. Allow for fun

Someone once told me, “Think of a favourite childhood memory and chances are you were outside and you were probably running.” It’s true – or at least it was in my case. There is something about being outside, in a big open space as a child that causes you to just run, usually with a great big grin on your face or giggling hysterically. Children naturally enjoy being outside. Is it raining? They want to jump in puddles. Is it snowing?  They want a snowball fight, sledging and to build a snowman. Is it windy? Why not fly a kite.

Being outdoors naturally lends itself to fun. Give a child a stick and it becomes a multifaceted plaything ranging from musical instruments to toy swords to a new imaginary friend. While you might be planning for an outdoor lesson that has clear aims and objectives, allow for some free time where the children can explore, discover and engage with the natural world. You might be surprised by what you find.

GET INVOLVED

If you would like children to spend more time outdoors, sign up your class or whole school to Outdoor Classroom Day, and share your day’s activities on social media using #OutdoorClassroomDay

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Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Wohoo! Top marks for signing up!!!

Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

We’ll send you a newsletter shortly. Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!

Wohoo! Top marks for signing up!!!

Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

We’ll send you a newsletter shortly. Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!

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