Three reasons outdoor learning is beneficial for your child

elementary students playing outside

When you imagine a classroom, everyone likely has the same image in mind: a chalkboard, desks organized in neat rows, a teacher standing at the front dictating lessons, with small hands dutifully raised high.

But what happens when we expand this image? What happens when we shake up traditional classroom designs or even take the classroom outside?

Which is better, indoor or outdoor learning?

Both indoor and outdoor learning environments have their own unique strengths. A school that can provide both means your student will get the most well-rounded education possible.

Though indoor learning is by far the most familiar, most parents don’t consider the positive impact an outdoor classroom can have on their child’s overall health and their academic performance.

Below are three ways outdoor learning can help your child’s education.

1. Outdoor learning leads to better grades

Research into the academic benefits of outdoor classrooms has come to a similar conclusion: Most students thrive in outdoor learning environments.

In his book Cognitive and Affective Learning in Outdoor Education, Dennis Eaton found that students’ cognitive abilities developed more effectively in an outdoor learning environment than an indoor one.

Schools such as the International School of Beijing (ISB) are putting this research into practice.

For instance, ISB has included a PreK courtyard playground for play-based and inquisitive development for their youngest students. The school also has other outdoor learning facilities where children can develop fundamental skills for a successful future, like problem-solving, a sense of inquiry, a love for the environment, and more.

2. Outdoor learning leads to improved health

According to nonprofit web portal KidsHealth, children should get about 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight per day in order to take in the required amount of vitamin D.

Most children and adults are vitamin D deficient as we spend most of our time inside, but this is especially detrimental for children as they are still developing.

Vitamin D promotes bone and teeth strength specifically but also contributes to healthy, full-body development in children.

By spending more time outside, students get the vitamins they need as part of a healthy lifestyle, which in turn puts your child in a better position to learn.

Outdoor learning environments also provide more space for physical activity. According to KidsHealth, school-aged children should get at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.

By including time in the curriculum for outdoor activities, your child will see noticeable improvements in their academic performance as well as their overall health.

Outdoor learning spaces, like the ones at ISB, are a great environment for students to get the physical activity and vitamin D they need to stay healthy.

3. Outdoor learning helps decrease stress levels

An aspect of the overall physical well-being is mental health. Research has shown that activities as simple as taking a walk in nature can have a positive effect on those dealing with anxiety, depression, and other serious mental health issues.

In order to achieve academic success, a student needs to be in the right state of mind to do so. Schools that provide outdoor spaces are considering all aspects of your child’s well-being.

Best of both worlds

Indoor learning spaces are proven to be effective learning environments, and though that aspect of your child’s education may never change, adding the benefits of outdoor learning will undoubtedly contribute to the future success in your child’s life.

As evident above, outdoor learning contributes fundamental benefits to your child. But what else should a modern facility provide students and teaching staff? Click here to discover six characteristics of an innovative school campus and how they help student learning.


6 Characteristics of a Positive Learning Environment

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