Outdoor education as an answer to the new educational needs after the COVID pandemic
The COVID pandemic and the various lockdowns have in my eyes an opportunity: thanks to it we had to reflect on the best way to educate our children, because new needs have to be filled. Outdoor education can surely help by filling some of these new needs.
What is outdoor education?
Outdoor education is any organized education that happens out of the doors. This means that education can happen in a park, in the community one lives in, on a walk, in the playground, at a city zoo, on a forest trail or in a national park. These kinds of locations allow first-hand experiences, to direct contact with the topic, and to participant interaction and socialization. Infact outdoor education draws upon the philosophy, theory, and practices of experiential education (s. Dr. Kolb: "learning through reflection on doing”) and environmental education. Mostly, when there is a risk component in the activity, like for instance climbing, rafting, some ropes courses, then it is called adventure education.
And what is taught outdoor?
You can of course simply bring your books in a beautiful place outdoor, sit down and teach. But pure outdoor education means learning about the outdoors itself and the cultural aspects related to the natural environment. You may teach about mathematics, biology, geology, communication, history, political science, art, physical skills, or endurance, but learning occurs through the context of the outdoors. Soil, water, animals, and plants make up the basic areas of study, but students may learn and practice the outdoor activities. Students may investigate human alterations of an ecosystem. In the broadest terms, the topic is the interrelationship of the human being and the natural resources.
And why should you do outdoor education?
To implementing the cognitive, psycho-motor, and affective domains of learning for the sake of the ecosystem itself. To improve participant interaction and socialization, creativity, critical thinking. It means understanding, using, and appreciating the natural resources. This is a way to get children aware of our environment, children which also thanks to outdoor education, one day will very probably be responsible and active citizenships.
Written by Sonia Simpatico - JUMP team