This magazine brings together teachers involved in the Naturally Healthy Devon Schools project to share and develop their tried and tested outdoor learning activities, and address the following regularly asked questions: What shall we do outside?, How can I make my outdoor learning relevant to National Curriculum requirements? How can I free up time in my timetable to take children outside to learn? The magazine is for educators interested in taking children’s learning outdoors. Every issue is brimming with seasonal activity ideas linked with National Curriculum guidelines, all tried and tested in and out of schools. Each issue follows a theme around which a combination of one-off activities and longer programmes of work offer opportunities to develop a range of skills for children across subject areas and from EYFS to KS3.

Outdoor learning can be interpreted in many different ways. Our focus is on curriculum-linked learning, delivered by children’s usual teacher, on or near their own school grounds and green spaces. So much of children’s indoor learning can be enhanced with an outdoor experience and we aim to share a selection of our favourite, and most effective, learning experiences here.

We will also include our top tips for developing appropriate policies to support learning outside, information about the best kit to use and examples to support creating your own resources too.

We hope you will join us on this journey of sharing great experiences of outdoor learning, and we’d love to hear from you too.

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Issue 3: Breathe
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We believe that outdoor learning is not an “add-on”, but is integral to a full and balanced education, through which all areas of learning can be delivered. We’ve made a big effort to ensure that all the activities we include are linked to curriculum requirements. Why? Because we know the pressures of trying to deliver a full curriculum to pupils in a limited time, and we want to encourage teachers and pupils to spend their time wisely outdoors.

But curriculum is not the end of the story, not our reason for being or for going outdoors and everyday we witness the additional benefits to children’s learning outside.

So join us in taking a pause, taking a breather, taking a moment to consider the numerous additional benefits children experience by learning in the natural environment.
Issue 2: Movement
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Issue 1 is all about getting on the move, and is written with thanks and gratitude to all the children who showed us the way and to everyone involved in the early days. The practitioner’s creativity, enthusiasm and insight continues to shine through these ever-evolving outdoor learning adventures.

There are numerous benefits to taking learning outdoors, including giving children a ‘spring in their step’ through outdoor activity and confidence building, and creating happy, healthy learning spaces for happy, healthy individuals (see our research feature in this issue).

In the true spirit of sharing, celebrating and enjoying everything that is outdoor learning, we hope you enjoy some of our favourite activities on the move this term, and look forward to hearing more about your outdoor adventures.
Issue 1: Transformation
As winter transforms into spring, it’s a great time to take to the playground, field, wood or park. This February and March World Story-telling Day and British Science Week take themes of transformation and change, and so we are following suit with this first issue theme of Transformation.

We know from our own teaching experiences that children benefit in many ways from learning in outdoor environments, and we also include current research evidencing the value and realities of learning outside the classroom. In this first issue, the findings from Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools is featured on pages 18-20, highlighting the experiences of schools involved in the four year Natural Connections project in the South-West.
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© 2019 Dragonfly Learning