I love going outside. When I was a child I used to wonder off into the countryside to explore by myself (back in the good old days with less traffic). I enjoyed pond dipping (just me and another ten year old, no adult supervision …. how did we survive?) We progressed from making ‘perfume’ out of rose petals to making a ‘cure’ for stinging nettle stings. We made fantastic dens and tried to make pots out of clay that we dug from the sides of a stream…….. I have many memories and also know that much learning took place that could not have happened indoors or from books alone.
I am pasionate about giving children as much chance to have some of the wonderful experiences that I was able to take for granted. The Statutory Framework and Non Statutory Guidance for Early Years made it easy for me as a Reception teacher to plan to teach outside as often as possible. However, even as I was beneffiting from this freedom I noticed that colleagues who taught in other years groups only taught outside occasionally; there seemed to be an inverse correlation between children’s age and the amount they left their classrooms (or even their seats in some instances).
I recognise that there are many reasons for this. Not all teachers are as passionate as I am about going out. However an even larger factor is, I believe, the constraints of the curriculum; teachers feel that they do not have time to go outside as there is so much work that has to be ‘covered’. I plan to use this blog to highlight ways that teachers can take their class outside (regularly) and still give children the opportunity to learn what they need to do. Indeed, I would argue that in many cases children are more likely to learn when they are not cooped up indoors.
Until recently I worked as a primary school teacher. Now I work at CIEC as a Primary Professional Development Leader. I have various roles including writing and updating written materials and running continuing professional development experiences for teachers in schools and on residential courses.