I’d like to draw your attention to the new Learning Outside the Classroom website. I am a firm believer that children can often learn more when taken out of a formal environment than when sat behind their desks. But I also disagree with just popping outside or having days out of school for the sake of it. I believe that there should be a learning objective behind every trip, educational visit or whatever the school decides to call it, and that this learning should begin before going outside the classroom and also be followed up on return to school.
The LOtC manifesto seems to run along exactly these lines, and the website is fantastic. It is full of case studies, links to other websites (including, amongst many others, storytime outdoors, learning maths outside the classroom and the Growing Schools website).
Whilst LOtC is not solely about outward bound-style courses and team building exercises (there is strong emphasis on using any area that is not the classroom to deliver high quality lessons with excellent learning outcomes), there is now a Quality Badge, which is awarded to LOtC providers who meet a variety of quality indicators (including effective learning and safety). That means that schools can be sure that suppliers who hold the badge will deliver high quality experiences.
The website – and this I find particularly impressive – also has a series of CPD modules which include resource packs for delegates, instructions and advice for the trainer, and an extremely impressive introductory PowerPoint presentation to grab the attention from the outset. The activities are interesting and well thought out and the training practises what it preaches by ensuring that learning objectives are met and by taking the learner into a non-classroom environment to experience the power of LOtC.
There is training for teachers, school leaders, NQTs, Governors and outdoor professionals. There may well be others I’ve forgotten.
So get thee to the website!