What is Learning Outside the Classroom

School grounds & immediate surroundings

Most schools and early years settings, and many youth projects, have a multi-faceted resource for learning outside the classroom on their doorstep — their own site or grounds.

The immediate surroundings of a school, youth project or early years setting are an easily-accessible, cost-effective and convenient resource for learning outside the classroom. On-site activities can be led by your own staff, with the resources to hand.

Young children learning outside the classroom

Play areas for problem-solving/team-building games and activities

The range of possible activities may be limited by the size and nature of the site; even so, most immediate surroundings can offer some or all of the following possibilities:

  • play areas — for problem-solving/team-building games and activities
  • habitats such as playing fields, hedges, meadows and ponds — for field study and science
  • school garden or growing areas — for science, sustainability and food education
  • whole site — for orienteering, outdoor literacy (e.g. storytelling) and practical numeracy activities, visual and performing arts (e.g. murals, sculptures, mosaics, music and drama)
  • paved areas— for D&T outdoor experiments
  • wooded areas— for Forest School activities
  • playing fields — overnight camping experiences
  • playground equipment and climbing/traversing walls— for adventurous activities.

Whatever the resources available on your site, you might consider establishing links with another school or project with a very different setting. For example, inner-city schools might link with rural schools or projects with one kind of resource on-site or close to hand might link with a partner with a very different kind of provision or opportunity.

Download more information about school grounds.