Going “Off-Grid” is exciting and enriching for children, especially when the experience involves preparing food, crafting treasures or exploring wonderful woodland scenery. Our popular outdoor learning activities provide ample opportunities for children to think creatively, work collaboratively and develop essential life skills.
Here are our top five benefits of going “Off-Grid” and enjoying outdoor learning experiences..
1. Creative Outdoor Learning Boosts Children’s Development
A report co-authored by the University of Plymouth and Western Sydney University found that outdoor learning can have a positive impact on children’s development when formally adopted into school curriculums. Outdoor learning boosts children’s long-term physical and emotional development and wellbeing, promoting a healthy, happy body and mind. Children Who Can actively promotes the inclusion of outdoor learning in primary school curriculums and can help you to incorporate woodland exploration, creative outdoor crafting and group gardening activities in your curriculum in such a way that meets the requirements of Ofsted’s 2019 framework update while enriching and exciting pupils.
2. Outdoor Learning Helps to Negate the Impact of “Nature Deficit Disorder”
Because children now spend a lot of time in front of digital screens, using televisions, computers and tablets, they can suffer from “nature deficit disorder”, which can lead to obesity and psychological and academic issues. Writing for Psychology Today, Richard Louv from People in Nature discusses the psychological, physical and cognitive costs of human alienation from nature, particularly during our early formative years.
Outdoor learning opportunities should be offered to all children as part of the early years curriculum. Children Who Can provides primary school children across Yorkshire with access to Off-Grid experiences, both after school and during the school holidays. Our outdoor learning activities include food preparation, crafting using found materials, group problem-solving challenges and survival skills coaching.
3. Being Closer to Nature Helps to Decrease Stress and Anxiety and Elevate Mood
An essential element of a good curriculum is that it helps children learn how to manage and understand their emotions. Enjoying outdoor learning experiences not only helps children to develop essential skills, but it also has a naturally calming and stress-relieving effect that lessens anxiety so that children can stay in control of their emotions. One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who spent time in the city, while another found that decreased heart rates and lower levels of cortisol were linked with time spent in the forest rather than in the city. It is this “forest therapy” effect that helps young children (and adults) to feel refreshed, revitalised and focused – a fantastic state to be in when learning essential life skills and developing social skills in the company of others.
4. Learning Outdoors Promotes Healthy and Active Lifestyles
According to the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC), a recent cultural shift in society has reduced children’s access to and use of the outdoors. LOtC recommends that children enjoy regular, sustained periods of play in a rich and stimulating outdoor environment, ideally daily. This is because learning outside the classroom helps children to develop healthy, active lifestyles and explore their environment, deepening their connection with nature. Children who enjoy active lifestyles are generally less prone to obesity and gain vital skills under a creative outdoor learning curriculum, improving their problem-solving skills, nurturing their creativity and developing their imagination.
5. Creative Outdoor Learning Is a Catalyst for Play and Conversation
Off-site “expeditions” and Off-Grid experiences allow children to play and learn together, collaborating and negotiating to achieve goals as a team. This enables the development of stronger communication and social skills, an essential part of children’s development. During our Off-Grid experiences, children will follow the CWC curriculum approach, which promotes independent thinking and problem-solving skills. Previous challenges have included planning a soup sharing event for the community and crafting home decorations from found materials to take home to their families.