How important is outdoor learning in the early years?

Posted on April 21st 2017

In the latest issue of Baby Hampshire, Jo Webbern, Head of Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie discusses the importance of outdoor learning.

“A recent research report suggested that a massive 80% of teachers were concerned that the British assessment system ‘hinders the development of the whole child’. When asked to suggest a single change, many recommended the provision of ‘free space’ where pupils can ‘be themselves’ and do things they really like without having to think about exam scores.”

Bedales founder John Badley believed that from an early age, children should be encouraged to be curious and spontaneous through ‘concrete’ learning, and he encouraged a strong connection with nature that has endured to this day.

Jo commented: “At Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie, we take pride in seeing the children develop their knowledge, confidence and appreciation of the natural world through outdoor projects where they take the curriculum outside the classroom.”

“We encourage children to develop an ability for understanding their learning, and indeed their world, from as many different perspectives and experiences as possible. The time they spend identifying birds, growing vegetables and caring for lambs is as much a part of their development and education as is time spent in the classroom and library.”

Doing and making are also key to a Bedales education – where children are active learners with opportunities for engagement of a particular nature, exercising parts of themselves different to those used in more obviously cerebral pursuits. This approach to teaching and learning goes hand in hand with the wellbeing of children and adults alike.

Jo Webbern | Dunannie approach to learning | Dunannie Twitter | Bedales history