Learning beyond the classroom
Wednesday, 06 March 2013
Learning goes far beyond the classroom - that's the theme of a conference being hosted by Hampshire County Council to promote outdoor learning opportunities.
Around 100 delegates are attending the conference which is being held at the County Council's headquarters in Winchester on Wednesday, 6 March, and will showcase the range of ways in which the County Council encourages Outdoor Learning.
There will be a series of workshops for the delegates, mostly teachers and other education professionals, to help them increase children's experience of learning outside the classroom.
The County Council offers a host of exciting opportunities for outdoor learning through its country parks, outdoor activity centres and environmental study centres as well as through its Art and Museums service and via the Duke of Edinburgh award schemes which it helps run. In addition to this its architects' department is responsible for award-winning school designs which include purpose built outdoor spaces which encourage environmental learning. Through the Healthy Schools initiative the County Council also helps schools to promote healthy lifestyle choices with a strong focus on health and wellbeing and sustainability.
Keynote speaker at the conference will be Tim Gill, one of the UK's leading thinkers on childhood who has a focus on children's play. His publications include No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society and Nothing Ventured: Balancing risk and benefits in the outdoors.
Four Hampshire schools will be making presentations at the conference about groundbreaking projects at their schools. They are:
Park Community School, Havant - developing a focus on the outdoors as part of a school rebuild
Otterbourne Primary School - transforming a meadow into an inspiring outdoor classroom
Dove House School , Basingstoke - Special Needs outdoors
Warren Park School, Havant - Whole school approach to outdoor learning
Commenting Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children's Services, said: "Classrooms are not the only venue for teaching and learning. The County Council has a wealth of outdoor sites including its country parks and activity centres, which together with school grounds, provide a rich environment for all sorts of learning from physical education, science, art and environmental studies to the less obvious subjects such as maths and English.
"It is important we get the right balance for children when looking at the potential of learning in the outdoors. Of course it's important to consider health and safety implications of any outdoor activity - as parents and grandparents we have to do that all the time with young members of our family. But we must not forget to balance that with the benefits of outdoor learning.
"I hope this conference will inspire teachers and other people who work with children to explore the range of learning opportunities beyond the classroom walls. Such opportunities will not only enrich the development of their pupils but will also I am sure, provide staff with innovative ways to support children's learning".