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Engaging Outdoor Learning : Potential of Outdoor Spaces

How can you develop outdoor learning opportunities for children in your care? What steps can you take in order to turn a natural space into a learning space?

Last Wednesday (Mar. 8) The Pod brought 30 educators from Early Learning Centres around Western Australia’s South-West to the Engaging Outdoor Learning session with an additional tour.

The "Potential of Outdoor Spaces" is one of Nature Play WA’s Engaging Outdoor Learning workshops. These hands-on workshops are run by our education consultants Daniel Burton and Trudi Bennett. 

This workshop is a comprehensive introduction into the ways natural spaces in and around schools can be used as learning spaces and Outdoor Classrooms. It covers some of the basic principles behind Outdoor Classroom design, setting up spaces using loose parts to enhance natural elements, how to inspire students and engage them in curriculum experiences inspired by natural provocations and innate childhood behaviour. 

Wednesday's workshop began with an introductory session by Daniel and Trudi on the balcony of Cygnet Hall overlooking the beautiful Swan River. This session helps to develop an understanding surrounding current research of the benefits behind Nature Pedagogy, Outdoor Learning and Nature Play

The group was split in two for the afternoon sessions, with one group joining Daniel at the Nature Strip next to the Nature Play WA office for a very hands-on session about outdoor classroom design. 

Meanwhile, the other half of the participants took a short excursion with Trudi to the Unicare Early Childhood Education facility at UWA to see and explore a real-life example of a childcare centre with a focus on outdoor learning.

The groups then reconvened at Cygnet Hall and switched activities for the remainder of the afternoon. At the end of the day, participants went a long way towards developing confidence in seeing opportunities within current teaching opportunities for outdoor learning within their own classrooms.

The Pod team have written a wonderful blog, sharing their thoughts about their Engaging Outdoor Learning workshop with us - A Day In Nature.

Are you interested in attending one of our Engaging Outdoor Learning workshops?

Nature Play WA is excited to be offering a range of education based, pedagogical professional learning opportunities. The Engaging Outdoor Learning workshop suite offers educators (Teachers, Administrators, Education Assistants and Student Teachers) the opportunity to explore the possibilities of using outdoor spaces in their school and local community as learning spaces and Outdoor Classrooms and the confidence to engage with Nature Pedagogy.

The series currently includes three separate, full day workshops that explore different levels of engagement with Outdoor Classrooms and can be attended as stand alone experiences or combined to provide an extensive experience contributing to professional development and pedagogical change.

Upcoming Engaging Outdoor Learning workshop: Engaging Outdoor Learning Workshop 3 - Connecting to Student Directed Investigations

Student engagement and passion for learning is enhanced when we take learning outside and provide opportunities for Nature Pedagogy. When students have an opportunity to learn outdoors they start to ‘live their learning’. Workshop 3 in the Engaging Outdoor Learning suite provides educators and opportunity to explore authentic, project based learning in an Outdoor Classroom Context. With hands on examples and planning tools, this workshop explores the ways students (from kind to year 6) can work together to design learning experiences and research projects for themselves in the outdoors. 

FIND OUT MORE

You can also learn more about out other Engaging Outdoor Learning workshops and our Incursions and Outdoor Classroom opportunities.  Want Nature Play WA to tailor something specific to your school or early learning centre's needs?  Send us an email at [email protected]

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