In wishing to ensure the children of Clackmannanshire grow up nurtured, safe, respected and able to realise their full potential, we are embedding more outdoor learning through our education.
Our aim is that all children are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society; and value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment.
Any form of learning which takes place outdoors ranging from reading a book outside through to a life changing four week expedition abroad with a large variety of outdoor experiences in between can be considered as outdoor learning.
All learning is important whether it takes place indoors or outdoors. However, sometimes the outdoor environment can be a more effective and stimulating place to learn than indoors.
Frequent and regular outdoor learning encourages children and young people to engage with their natural and built heritage and brings a host of benefits in terms of health and wellbeing. The outdoors also provides excellent opportunities to use a wide range of skills and abilities not always relevant in the classroom.
The support and contribution of parents and carers is very important. They are key partners in delivery and help to prepare children and young people for outdoor learning experiences.
Parents and carers can often provide rich outdoor learning outwith educational settings, as well as assisting on outdoor visits.
Your child’s school may ask you to ensure that your child is suitably dressed for learning outside all year round. Being enthusiastic about being outdoors is one of the most valuable ways in which parents can help both their child and school or setting.
The children at almost all pre-school settings are outdoors on a daily basis, learning through energetic play, exploration and investigation.
Children develop their knowledge and skills to higher levels. Learning outdoors often takes place in the school grounds and local community through exploration and study of the local landscape. There may be opportunities to visit a farm, forest, outdoor centre, historical site, country park etc.
All curriculum areas provide a range of progressive learning opportunities outdoors. There are often opportunities to explore rural and urban spaces further afield and these could perhaps include a visit abroad.
The outdoors also offers many themes to support interdisciplinary study (working across traditional subject boundaries) or transition projects with real and relevant experiences to develop and deepen understanding. It is also common for learners to engage with more challenging adventure activities.
Most outdoor learning activities carry no higher risk than activities and situations faced by learners on a day-to-day basis. To ensure that the benefits of any planned activity outweigh the risks many practitioners utilise a risk/benefit approach which is advocated by the Health and Safety Executive.
Schools and local authorities will also have comprehensive guidance in place which teachers and others will follow.
Risk management is a life skill and learners should be educationally involved in the process from the outset. This will help learners to make good decisions about risks as they develop.
Schools and local authorities have guidelines for all off-site visits. Measures will be in place to ensure that there are agreed ratios of adults to children, staff are competent and emergency arrangements are in place.
Children and young people will, where appropriate, be encouraged to manage their own and others’ safety.