Design & planning resources, guidance and case studies for schools on using their outside spaces, and the benefits of being outside for outdoor learning.
This section was developed during the 1st & 2nd UK lockdowns, to support schools to develop and improve their covid-safety & outdoor learning.
Arranged, as much as possible, in chronological order, most recent at the top.
Update on National Guidance for Learning Outdoors
'This document provides advice on the implications for educational visits during the Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic.'
Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel (OEAP), January 2021
Position Statements from Inside Outside
1. Outdoor Learning in Cold Weather: Keep Moving through Winter and COVID–19
2. Outdoor Learning Opportunities for Healthy Students: a solution for elementary schools during COVID-19
... and more.
Adjusting Classroom Curriculum to Outdoors
Headings include: Traditional Classroom Activities that Are Well-Suited to the Outdoor Classroom; COVID-Specific Considerations for Teaching Outdoors; Tips for Teaching (Anything!) Outdoors; and Environmental Education Curricula Designed to be Taught Outdoors.
School Garden Support Organization Network: SGSO (US)
Resources to support school gardens during COVID times
Links to a range of useful resources under the headings distance teaching resources; virtual gatherings; outdoor classrooms to support reopening schools; garden access, care & harvest; and an online forum.
School grounds design and planning – post Covid19
“Bring your creativity and experience to finding more ways to take your classes outside for their, and your health, and wellbeing. Use the space and opportunities that your grounds have to offer, as you welcome your children back in to school.” Includes – arrival & collection – transitioning back to a school environment – how can landscape & outdoor learning help? – temporary seating & gathering spaces – outside come rain or shine! – Early Years, KS1 & KS2,
Learning Through Landscapes
National Outdoor Learning Library: practical resources for taking school outside during the pandemic & beyond
'Free online resource library, designed to help schools and districts move their classes and programs outside as a way to address the COVID-19 pandemic.' Includes health guidance, case studies, creating outdoor spaces, education outside and more.
Green Schoolyards America (US)
Resources for Outdoor Learning During COVID-19
‘NOW is the time to ensure that your child’s school takes advantage of one of the safest spaces for learning during the pandemic—the outdoors … We’ve gathered these resources to help your school start the process of repurposing the outdoors as a learning space.’
Childhood by Nature (US), 3 July 2020
The Potential of Garden Classrooms to Help Schools Reopen Safely
Linking to many more resources that ‘outline the potential for outdoor classrooms to provide much-needed, extra “classroom” space; allow for social distancing between students; and provide strategic and cost-effective tools for improving academic, mental and physical wellbeing as schools reopen.’
Covid19 Outdoor Learning
‘Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities.’ US information but much is transferable to UK & elsewhere. Resources include official guidance, ensuring equity, case studies, school program integration, Outdoor Infrastructure Planning Strategies for Taking Learning Outside as Schools Reopen, support for outdoor learning and media coverage.
Green Schoolyards America (US)
eeGuidance for Reopening Schools
This guide ‘presents information and strategies for how community-based environmental and outdoor education programs can help schools to equitably reopen during and after the COVID-19 crisis.’
NAAEE (North American Association for Environmental Education) (US), 29 June 2020
Play Wales practical resources
“Practitioners across Wales are continuing to work in different ways to support children’s play during this challenging time. To help practitioners support children’s play we have developed a range of practical resources.” Includes: Focus on play: reopening parks, play areas and open spaces for children’s play / Focus on play: reopening schools / Tops / videos.
Play Wales, 26 June 2020
LOtC case studies
“… a range of case studies all of which demonstrate good practice within Learning Outside the Classroom. The case studies are added to regularly.”
CLOtC: Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. Most recent addition 18 June 2020
Using the outdoors to enrich learning in a safe socially distanced environment
A deputy headteacher discusses their bubble approach and how they’ve used their outside spaces to enhance and enrich learning whilst also enabling a safe socially distanced environment, during their first week back at school.
CLOtC, 5 June 2020
A Breath of Fresh Air
A deputy headteacher discusses their first week back at school, including using their local outside spaces for pick up/drop off, and using the outdoors to re-connect with nature and improve wellbeing.
CLOtC, 5 June 2020
Social distancing in school grounds
Advice poster from Learning Through Landscapes. Covers: why take learning outside, how to make the most of the site, how to maintain social distancing, hygiene tips, temporary gathering/seating spaces, pupil drop off/pick up, moving round the site, and come rain, come shine!
Planning LOtC experiences
“An overview on what to consider when you start taking your lessons into different spaces. For more detail on each stage take a look at our Planning LOtC Experiences factsheet.”
Mainstreaming learning outdoors as part of our new normal
Dr Jo Traunter says “with a growing body of evidence demonstrating that in addition to being outside reducing transmission of the virus, learning outdoors is also shown to impact on a range of development including physical, communication, health, eyesight, resilience and emotional wellbeing, the case for outdoor learning has never been stronger. More schools could therefore now consider taking advantage of their outdoors areas and exploiting the opportunities offered by these spaces. ”
On Jan White’s Early Childhood Outdoors, 29 May 2020
An A to Z of a Nurturing Environment
“This A to Z will not cover every aspect of nurture, but I hope it can provide a starting point for a way of “being with” children and young people whose well-being and mental health are or have been at risk. Supporting and safeguarding their social and emotional development will be even more important as we help them return to school during the current coronavirus pandemic.”
Dr Chris Moore, EdPsychInsight, 26 May 2020
Coronavirus: How outdoor classes could be future of schools after lockdown
“Teachers may need extra training to deliver outdoor lessons, as the Scottish Government explores new ways for safer learning once lockdown eases.” With contributions from Wee Wild Sparks outdoor nursery.
The Courier (Scotland), 25 May 2020
How outdoor learning can help with social distancing
“As we begin to plan a return to school establishments, we are compelled to look at new ways of teaching and learning … For many teachers and practitioners, learning and teaching in the outdoors is already a regular occurrence.”
TES, 23 May 2020
ORN Member Webinar: COVID-19 Approaches to re-opening the outdoors
Recording on YouTube. “This webinar provides national perspectives in approach from across UK and Ireland and practical case studies on approaches to re-opening sites, followed by question and answer session.”
Outdoor Recreation Network, 21 May 2020 (1 hr 42 mins)
Schools encouraged to embrace outdoor learning to ease coronavirus concerns
“A Moray nursery that specialises in outdoor learning is encouraging mainstream education providers to embrace the natural environment even more to ease classroom concerns.”
The Press & Journal, 19 May 2020
7 tips for running outdoor lessons when schools reopen
Schools in Denmark have been using outdoor lessons to help manage social distancing rules more easily – here are 7 tips for doing it well for other schools that may follow suit.”
TES, 17 May 2020
Consortium steps forward to support schools to re-open by taking learning outdoors
Turning learning inside out – supporting schools to reopen by taking learning outdoors.
CLOtC, 15 May 2020
Scotland’s outdoor play initiative has some lessons for the rest of the world
“As Scotland considers the eventual re-opening of schools and non-emergency child-care facilities as the threat of coronavirus recedes, early childhood advocates are eagerly anticipating a now-delayed rollout of an important social policy experiment.”
The Conversation, 10 May 2020
Italy eyes plans for kids to go to micro-nurseries and have lessons in the forest
‘Kindergartens and day nurseries may be used for small groups of children aged zero to six years from June onwards … Education minister Lucia Azzolina has said the playgrounds and gyms of primary and secondary schools could be used. The idea is for them to spend as much time outdoors as possible.’
The Local (Italy), 2 May 2020