This week I have been working in two schools in Essex for Creative Partnerships consulting on ways of improving literacy skills using outdoor apparatus. I’ve worked on several projects like this over the years and it always amazes how much of a benefit can be gained by taking children outside and getting them to engage with the environment. Through working this way we have managed to teach the year two children about metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia and alliteration in a fun, active and exciting way and in a way that they will remember since there are now concrete memories associated with the lines they have created. At one point one of the students came up to me with a twig which he proceeded to snap asking for confiramtion that it was a “snapping” sound he could hear so that he could write a line using onomatopoeia.
Naturally using the great outdoors does come with its challenges – just two minutes after venturing outside on one session the heavens opened up but as the children ran back into class they spied a rainbow. The class were literally yelping with joy – from that one incident we had an array of fantastic lines – one child said “Winter is as white as a frozen rainbow” .
Many schools seem to be taking this idea of outdoor learning on bard with some even building outdoor classrooms. I wish such iniatives had been around when I was a child ( a child who could not sit down for very long)
If you would like to know how you can incorporate outdoor learning in your school please don’t hesitate to get in touch.