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Outdoor Learning Environment

Children’s everyday lives, families, home, community and local environment, other people and wider world are related to knowledge and understanding of world. Children will be provided with significant experiences through different types of experiential learning opportunities, play and practical activities. These will encourage them to ask questions, stimulate their senses and explore their environment. They will have the experience of adventuring that will develop awareness and engage their interests. (Richardso 2006)

Jerome Bruner advocated spiral curriculum which reflects a belief that children’s learning process actually involves building on previous experiences, understanding, knowledge and skills as children grow. The learning and development of children between ages of 3 and 7 years is supported particularly by this model. Children at any age range pursue some particular themes or topics at their own pace and level. For example children of any age group can undertake the cross curricular topic of “Where is my Living Room” and depending on their prior knowledge and understanding can go with different learning behaviors and activities.

(Stine 1996) Development of Skills In the outdoor learning environment the skills which are expected to be developed in children are observing, describing, comparing, sorting, classifying, sequencing, enquiring, asking/answering question, exploring, investigating, experimenting, listening, thinking, making decisions, solving problems, predicting and testing and recording. For example, children playing on the sea shore are asked to collect shells, count them and then sort them according to some specific criteria (i.

e. according to the size of the shell). (Martin 2004) Children will Learn in Following Ways The outdoor environment contributes to the children’s learning through imitating others such as the activity of role play and imaginative play, teaching some specific skills directly such as how to use measuring equipment and tools and lastly through the process of experiential learning which • Begins with children’s present or past experience • Encourages exploration and curiosity to observe and learn

• Provides children with an opportunity to recall their past learning and experiences • Requires children to question every possible aspect of their learning experience • Encourages communication and interaction of children about what they want to do • Gives value to the children which raises their self esteem • Relates learning to children’s own life and the real world • Allows for new learning and practice of skills • Allows children to finally evaluate their learning (Martin 2004) The Living World

In the living world, children should first recognize themselves as human beings and then they should be able to differentiate themselves from other animals. They should be able to compare and contrast the features of human and animals and then they should also given the opportunity to observe the similarities that animals like humans also move, need water and food and finally reproduce and grow. An outdoor garden should be established to allow children to sense the other living organism, plants and they should also be imparted with the knowledge of conservation and sustainability.

(Levin 1998) Practical activities such as planting, digging, looking for seeds and then observing them while they grow will further enhance children’s knowledge about the ecology and the environment. As children grow and as their boundary of knowledge grows, they should be allowed to investigate and then predict the best conditions for a growing seed and should be given a chance to test their predictions by allowing them to plant the seeds.

Investigation and observation of growth in animals and plants and how they are subsequently affected by changing weathers and seasons will allow them to understand their own growth process and how their body will change over time. (Levin 1998) The Physical World When children play with toys such as toy cars, they experiment that pushing and pulling make things to speed up or slow down or change direction. And in describing their actions they are able to build vocabularies related to forces.

By observing sunlight and light from torches and lamps, children develop the understanding of darkness, light and shadows. Further more games involving sounds will increase their knowledge about how sounds travel in air medium and that they travel even faster in solid medium such as land. They can delve further by making comparison between sounds and lights such as sounds have shorter range and travel slower than the light. (Consalvo 1997) Conclusion The above paper clearly shows that children’s experience in outdoor environment increases their knowledge at a faster rate than learning from books.

Such as if we want children to learn the road sense and the road safety issues, the practical activities in the outdoor environment requiring children to use bikes to navigate through the route, will help them much in learning the sense of direction and of space Therefore outdoor learning of children should be encouraged as it promotes self confidence, makes children daring and adventurous and encourages children to tackle the unknown and take useful initiatives. Bibliography Consalvo, C. M. (1997). Changing Pace: Outdoor Games for Experiential Learning.

Human Resource Development Press. Levin, M. (1998). Taming the Wild Outdoors – Building Cooperative Learning Through Outdoor Education. Good Apple Inc. Martin, A. (2004). Outdoor and Experiential Learning: A Holistic Approach and Creative Approach to Programme Design. Gower Publishing Company. Richardso, R. (2006). Creating a Space to Grow The Process of Developing your Outdoor Learning Environment. David Fulton Publish. Stine, S. (1996). Landscapes for Learning: Creating Outdoor Environments for Children and Youth. Wiley

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