Would you love to spend more time outdoors with your class?
Like us, I’m sure the thought of taking your class outdoors for lessons fills you with excitement and anticipation. We often start the year thinking this is the year the we could commit to going outdoors more. But all too often the enthusiasm fades when we become swamped with crammed timetables, overwhelmed by assessment and drained by the endless meetings. At Alfresco Learning, we are here to help! We have put together a full year of outdoor learning ideas in the form of a poster to help you take that step closer to having a fulfilling experience with outdoor learning! This free poster provides you with the ideas and tools to enable children to see the beauty in the outdoors all year round!
So are you up for it? Good! Read on to find out more…
September signifies the start of the new year, this is the time that we as teachers like to give ourselves new goals. For instance, new classroom layouts, new reward systems or maybe you’ve inherited ‘that class’ and are looking at ways you can engage them. Whatever the goal, the idea of going outdoors might seem too much to add onto an already full plate, but it doesn’t have to be.
In recent times the research into the benefits of outdoor learning has been showcased at many training events and conferences, as well as on social media groups. Going outdoors increases children’s ability to assess risk, feel empathy towards the environment, understand how their lessons apply to real life and it redirects those ‘over-enthusiastic’ children shall we say, into something more productive. We often come away with a whole bank of ideas from these events and articles that leave our heads spinning with the possibilities and benefits outdoor learning could provide for our classes. Fast forward 10 minutes and you’re back in school, already drowning in paperwork, dealing with sub-optimal behaviour and those positive intentions about going outdoors are already being pushed further down the list.
At Alfresco Learning we are here to help, we’ll give you a monthly prod and provide the motivation boost you need to take the children outdoors! You may be a newcomer to outdoor learning or a complete professional; you may have a lovely green space outside or a concrete jungle. Either way your journey into ‘Our Alfresco Year’ will help you to utilise outdoor learning & inspire others in your setting to follow suit. If that wasn’t enough motivation to go outdoors, consider that Ofsted’s new framework, due to be implemented this year, is turning a focus towards that ‘broad and balanced curriculum’ you’ve always wanted! Meaning fun, purposeful outdoor learning is within arm’s reach and now realistically possible!
Of course, if you need a little extra guidance or inspiration along the way, we can always help by delivering a workshop directly to your class providing you and the children, with the right tools to feel confident outdoors!
So, now you’re inspired…but…where to start?
Below is an outline of the first term’s monthly ideas featured in ‘Our Alfresco Year’ and a short activity to accompany them. Hopefully you wish to take children out more often than this! However, scheduling a short session outdoors each month will help to keep you on track and give your class the opportunity to showcase all of the amazing benefits to you!
New year, new children!! Start simple and take a story outdoors for the children to listen to. This can bring a whole new experience for the children. The outdoors provides a calming atmosphere for reading. Alternatively, use it to change things up! Journey through the environment using the story to take your class on an exciting adventure!
This month provides in inspiration in the form of Halloween. The time of year where everything is monster themed and although you may be bored by it…the children never are! If you have trees in your outdoor space go and pick up fallen leaves and get creative! Have fun creating terrifying leaf monsters, challenge the children to make them the most crazy monsters they can think of!
It’s grey & it’s wet, so what’s better than. . . mud. Yep, that’s right, glorious mud! Take the children outside and just let the children feel & experience mud. This is something they rarely do past EYFS but still has so many developmental benefits for them. They could do anything with it, roll it into balls and use it to count, create shapes or design self portraits by squishing it onto a tree, there’s endless learning possibilities with mud! And remember, if you don’t all get your hands messy, then you’re not doing it right!!
Christmas . . . Attempting to teach carol singing when you’re tone deaf, glittered carpets, production rehearsals with ‘wise men’ who have beards the same size as their faces; we’ve all been there at some point!! Challenge the children to create a class Christmas carol outdoors with natural instruments and see how musical they really are!
So if you’re excited to take on our monthly outdoor session ideas this term, don’t forget to download our free poster! Put it up in your classroom so you & your class can follow along your outdoor learning journey together! There are also blank and an eco-friendly copies available, in case you or your class want to design your own monthly outdoor challenges!
If you would like to take part in ‘Our Alfresco Year’ don’t forget to join in with the fun on Facebook or Instagram! Spread the word amongst colleagues and friends to take part with you and share ideas! We love to see classes of children getting outdoors so please tag us in your posts or comment on ours! We’ll share your activities with others to inspire and connect you with other teachers with the same passion and dreams! You can do this by either posting them on our Facebook posts or using #ouralfrescoyear on instagram.
Good luck and enjoy!
Jenny & Hollie x
Alfresco Learning delivers curriculum based outdoor workshops to schools in Yorkshire and the surrounding areas! Click the button below to find out more!