Primarily, the way that the classroom and other educational environments have been conceptualized within Western society centers around a space that is enclosed and indoors. Oftentimes, recess and gym are the only school-time activities associated or deemed appropriate for the outdoors. However, there are a number of benefits to outdoor education and learning environments that take place outside. These benefits not only affect a student’s motor skills, but also their ability to discover, synthesize and comprehend all aspects of their education in its entirety—including subjects like math, science and languages. The books included in this lobby display attempt to help reconceptualize the classroom environment, break down the associated physical boundaries and extend the classroom outside.
Based around the concept that “if you can do it indoors, you can probably do it outside”, Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms: Designing And Implementing Child-Centered Learning Environments by Eric Nelson analyzes the many ways that outdoor education can benefit a child’s learning and development. By offering suggestions and strategies concerning ways that outdoor spaces can be harnessed and transformed into places of learning, Nelson helps to promote ways to help children spend quality time with nature in a more stimulating environment conducive to discovery and learning. Along with a full range of outdoor educational activities, this item also includes recommendations concerning ways to collaborate with other teachers when creating outdoor learning spaces, as well as methods to measure the success of an outdoor environment or activity.
Perfect for those teachers interested in implementing outdoor education within their classroom but don’t know where or how to begin, Let’s Take it Outside! Teacher-Created Activities for Outdoor Learning acts as a great guidebook for getting started. Filled with more than 100 outdoor learning activities and activity ideas, Let’s Take it Outside! helps education administrators better imagine how the classroom can be effectively implemented outside of the walls of a building. Organized by themes such as colours, counting and touch, the activities outlined in this manual help to build upon and expand a child’s intellectual education while stimulating both their bodies and minds. Helping to build skills in areas like math, literacy and science, this item works to prove that outdoor education helps to develop more than just a child’s motor skills and physical health.
Created by the noted environment education expert David Sobel, Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning has been cited as a revolutionary source that will “change the way that you think about early childhood education.” Based from a framework rooted within the European educational scene, this item explores the stimulating benefits of nature and outdoor education and promotes an educational environment that incorporates those aspects. Identified as “Nature Preschools” and “Forest Kindergartens”, this item works to create a framework that would help to reconceptualize the classroom into a stimulating, nurturing and entirely outdoor space.
While focusing on the visual and physical benefits of outdoor education, A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature also highlights the many ways that a child’s skill and education within the field of science can be expanded with outdoor play. Filled with more than 55 suggested outdoor activities, this item acts as a great way to get children excited about going outside and taking advantage of the physical and intellectual stimulants that are so intricately associated with any outdoor environment. By featuring many activities that are more geared toward the scientific field, this item is a great resource in stimulating a child’s natural curiosity with the world around them in such a way that expands their knowledge concerning nature.
A colourful reminder of all the fun that can be had outside, On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole is an inspiring children’s picture book designed to get children excited about exploring the outdoors—even if it’s just their front yard. This item follows the story of a girl named Caroline, who is confused why her house on Meadowview Street doesn’t have a view of a meadow at all! Bored with her grassy but plain front yard, Caroline sets to work in creating a meadow of her own creation that would act as a nice home for all the birds and butterflies of the street. Offering a great lesson concerning the potential of the outdoors and the capability of young children, this item helps to encourage children to go outside, play, and learn new things by discovering nature.
For these and more books on outdoor education, visit the Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building. Please feel free to take out the materials found in the lobby display—OISE staff would be happy to take these out for you.