The Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Posted: 22nd May 2024

At St. Augustine’s Priory, we believe in the transformative power of outdoor learning, where the natural world becomes our classroom.

Nestled within our school grounds lies the Priory Farm, a vibrant hub of agricultural activity and learning. Here, students have the opportunity to embrace sustainability, understand the farm-to-fork philosophy, and engage in a wide range of activities that positively impact their emotional wellbeing and holistic development.

A parent recently called the Priory Farm ‘the beating heart of our community’. Everyone at St. Augustine’s Priory wholeheartedly agrees. From our orchard, with trees over 100 years old; to our lovingly cared-for animals; to the produce that our girls are encouraged to sell – the Farm is a truly special space for all.

Read on to find out why we believe outdoor learning is the key to a fulfilling education.

Embrace sustainability

Outdoor learning at St. Augustine’s Priory encourages students to connect with nature and develop a deep appreciation for the environment. Through hands-on experiences on the Priory Farm, students learn about sustainable farming practices, such as composting, crop rotation, and water conservation. By actively participating in these activities, they develop a sense of responsibility towards the planet and gain valuable skills for sustainable living.

Understand farm-to-fork philosophy

Our outdoor learning curriculum is rooted in the farm-to-fork philosophy, which emphasises the importance of understanding where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Students have the opportunity to plant, cultivate, and harvest a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on the Priory Farm. Through this process, they gain a deeper understanding of the food production cycle and the significance of making informed choices about food consumption.

Positive impact on emotional wellbeing

Spending time outdoors has been shown to have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing, reducing stress and promoting feelings of happiness and relaxation. Outdoor learning, therefore, is essential to healthy human development.

At St. Augustine’s Priory, outdoor learning provides students with a welcome respite from the pressures of academic life. Whether tending to the garden, caring for animals, or simply enjoying the fresh air, students have the opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate in a natural setting.

Caring for animals

The Priory Farm is home to a variety of animals, including chickens, ducks, pigs, and an endangered species of sheep, providing students with the unique opportunity to learn about animal husbandry and welfare.

Caring for animals fosters empathy, responsibility, and respect for living creatures. Through hands-on experiences and active learning, students develop important life skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, all while forging meaningful connections with the natural world.

Scientific education

Outdoor learning at St. Augustine’s Priory extends beyond traditional subjects to encompass scientific exploration and discovery.

Our students engage in fieldwork, experiments, and observations, gaining practical experience in biology, ecology, and environmental science. By applying classroom concepts in real-world contexts, students develop a deeper understanding of scientific principles and the interconnectedness of living organisms within ecosystems.

Learn politics of food security

Understanding the politics of food security is essential in today’s world. Through outdoor learning experiences, students explore issues related to food production, distribution, and access, gaining insights into the social, economic, and environmental factors that influence food security. By critically examining these issues, students develop a sense of agency and empowerment to advocate for positive change in their communities and beyond.

Child development

Outdoor learning plays a crucial role in a child’s development, nurturing curiosity and creativity, and fostering developmental milestones crucial for early childhood and beyond.

Through unstructured play and exploration, children develop their physical abilities, problem-solving skills, and self-confidence. Outdoor environments stimulate brain development and encourage sensory exploration, providing opportunities for meaningful interactions and early relationships, which are integral to a child’s emotional development and social skills.

By nurturing a connection to nature from an early age, outdoor learning lays the foundation for a holistic approach to a child’s life, fostering healthy development in an education that extends into their journey as young adults.

An outdoor education at St. Augustine’s Priory

Outdoor learning at St. Augustine’s Priory offers a wealth of benefits for students, enriching their educational experience.

Through hands-on experiences on the Priory Farm, students gain valuable skills, knowledge, and insights that will serve them well throughout their lives. As we continue to embrace the great outdoors, we remain committed to fostering a culture of curiosity, connection, and sustainability that empowers our students to thrive.

Categories: Supporting your child