How Outdoor Education helps offer truly Future-Oriented Holistic Learning

How Outdoor Education helps offer truly Future-Oriented Holistic Learning

Interest in Outdoor Learning is on the rise as one of the possible answers to current education challenges. Schools and preschools around the world are looking for ways to keep education sustainable and also to support children’s holistic learning, development and well-being which have been negatively affected because of the pandemic. More educators recognise the benefits behind Outdoor Education and realise that an outdated pen-paper based and heavily academic-oriented education is not enough to prepare children for the future.

Countries such as the UK, Canada, Finland and few other Scandinavian countries have been effectively incorporating Outdoor Learning in the early years education for many years. More and more countries join them including Singapore that now offers a dedicated degree path for Outdoor Education.

Outdoor Education promotes holistic learning in the best way possible as there are many natural opportunities for Multi-sensory, Cross-curricular and Experiential Learning that indoor pre-structured environments cannot offer.

 It’s truly the FUTURE LEARNING-ORIENTED approach – reconnecting children with the real world and offering them support to develop their Core Life Skills.

Outdoor Education in Future Learning

Outdoor Education can be easily named as one of the most effective Future Oriented approaches because:

– it supports all areas of Child Development

– it promotes Experiential and Self-directed Child-Led Learning 

– it helps cover Cross-curricular goals like no other approach

– it promotes Physical Development & Manageable Risk Taking

– it helps children develop Core Life Skills, Leadership mindset and Collaborative Attitude

– it helps children interact with the real world in a truly authentic way

Such learning goes far beyond just knowledge and understanding but instead helps children develop Core Life Skills, essential attitudes and mindsets that will support them no matter the times and circumstances. More than that, it helps children discover their inner gifts and talents, understand themselves as individuals, promotes positive self-image and conscious self-knowing. In this model learning process is effortless, exciting, joyful, contextualised, meaningful and personalised. This way it is also the most effective and leaves long-term results.

outdoor education future oriented learning

What is Outdoor Learning really about?

Contrary to many misconceptions Outdoor Leaning is not about organising special outings, brining books outdoors, it’s not about gardening or ecology or having a nice playground. Outdoor Experiential Education is not about having one day a week for outdoor play either. Some of these things can be effectively incorporated in Outdoor Learning but in an essence they do not define Outdoor Education.

Outdoor Education is about moving learning outdoors, maximising the opportunities that outdoor environments offer to promote Active Holistic Learning and natural authentic interactions with the world around. 

Outdoor Education is essentially about using the existing natural outdoor environments with all its amazing opportunities to support children’s Whole-Person and Cross-curricular Learning.

Outdoor Education helps you offer exciting, engaging, authentic and multi-sensory learning contexts. Something many children have been missing out on for months around the world. And it’s much easier for teachers to cover most, if not all, aspects of curriculum this way. 

It’ll also help your setting transition to new models of offering education – truly Future Oriented Education.

How Outdoor Education supports children’s holistic growth and development?

  • The learning will always be Experiential, as much hands-on as possible so that children can get involved actively and directly. They will experiment, test, try, explore, move things around, mix, match, build, construct, create, jump, climb…Such engagement helps children use their existing skills, understanding and knowledge, apply it directly and see the outcome, predict results, modify, adjust, reflect, evaluate. It’s the experience that pen and paper or technology based education will never be able to offer. 
  • Outodoor education will always be Multisensory so that children are be able to learn using all their senses, their bodies and deeply immerse in the experiences offered. They will be able to touch, smell, see, move, listen, feel textures, weight, size, shapes, colours, use their hands, palms, feet. They will also be able to be louder than indoors.
  • Outdoor learning is a Whole Person Learning meaning it supports all areas of children’s development: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, supports language and communication development, reasoning, creativity, understanding of the world.
outdoor education holistic learning
  • Outdoor education is one of the best and easiest way to offer Cross-curricular Learning. Every single experience the children are involved in will essentially be multi disciplinary and will help you address many aspects of your curriculum if you need to follow one.
  • Outdoor Education offers a unique way to support Child-led Self-directed learning and nature-inspired interactions that children easily and effortlessly recognise as “invitations to play”. As nature is abundant with such opportunities, outdoor education helps children stay busy for long and also makes it easy for teachers to plan meaningful learning experiences that are based on children’s interests
  •  Outdoor Education is the most powerful way to offer truly Future-oriented early years education, nurture core life skills and children’s natural leadership mindset as it is easy for children to take the lead, narrate their learning experiences, recognised and address their learning needs and take full responsibility for their learning. All this helps children develop awareness and much needed confidence in their own skills.  

Let us illustrate with an example:

Simple sand & water play opens the door to understanding:

  • material properties
  • hygiene, self-care, safety
  • promotes fine-motor skills and bodily awareness
  • sustainability, raising awareness of water as a precious resource
  • reasoning, observation, predicting, making assumptions
  • water as a force of nature
  • water as a habitat

Adding simple insect mini figures to the mix inspires discussion about insect kingdom, their features, habitats, diet (science & biology)…Children can count them, sort them into categories (maths & numeracy)…Tons of cross-curricular learning. No books or worksheets involved. 

outdoor education holistic learning

Can you implement Outdoor Education in any climate?

Absolutely! Outdoor Education is not reserved for mild climates only. In fact, many countries with cold and tropical weather implement Outdoor Education with great success. 

Children enjoy learning outdoors regardless of the weather and geography and will love to take advantage of local resources and opportunities your climate offers. Naturally, educators need to consider their unique local climate, geography, fauna & flora to determine how these factors affects children’s safe exploration outdoors and what safety measures need to be put in place before and included in their daily risk assessment.


With our ACTIVE LEARNING BOOSTER Teacher Training programme you will learn how to maximise the potential and utilise the opportunities that the Outdoor Education can offer your children.   

In our Active Learning Booster Online Hands-on Teacher Training we show educators how to:

  • take advantage of outdoor environments and Local Resources
  • how to offer Nature-inspired Interactions
  • how to support Pre-structured and Child-led outdoor experiences
  • how to support all Areas of Development and Learning
  • how to use the existing outdoor natural environment and the resources available to promote Self-directed Learning and nurture children’s Leadership Mindset
  • how to use outdoor learning experiences to easily cover your curriculum 
  • you will also learn how to design safe and inspiring outdoor play spaces and perform risk assessment to make sure the area is safe to enjoy by children at all times. 

Start your journey today – you access the first training module of Active Learning Booster for FREE.

The training is aligned with the EYFS framework, NVQ CCLD and Playwork. You will also receive certificate of completion outlining all learning take-aways.

Experiential Learning Future Oriented Education Teacher Training

Magdalena Matulewicz Witold Matulewicz Natural Born Leaders
Authors: Magdalena Matulewicz & Witold Matulewicz – Teacher Trainers, Assessors
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