Outdoor learning is particularly beneficial for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities for several reasons and at Fairfield we have excellent outdoor learning facilities which ensure access to a wide range of activities. These include our own sensory meadow with sensory path and an outdoor classroom which can accommodate ambulant and wheelchair-bound students. Pupils engage in a range of activities including seasonal sensory stories, planting, bug houses, making wormeries and other seasonal activities. Here and in the developed surrounding area, pupils can enjoy the outdoor environment throughout the year
The benefits of Outdoor Learning include:
- Sensory stimulation: Outdoor environments provide a wealth of sensory experiences, including sights, sounds, textures, and smells. This can be especially valuable for children with sensory processing disorders, as it can help them engage with and understand the world around them in a more natural and holistic way.
- Physical activity: Outdoor learning often involves physical activities such as walking, running, climbing, and playing, which can be beneficial for children with SEND, including those with conditions that affect their motor skills or physical development. Physical activity can contribute to improved physical health, coordination, and overall well-being.
- Real-world context: The outdoor environment offers real-world experiences that can make learning more tangible and relevant for pupils with SEND. For example, a nature walk can provide opportunities for learning about plants, animals, and the environment in a way that is more immediate and concrete than reading about these subjects in a textbook.
- Emotional and social development: Outdoor learning can provide opportunities for pupils with SEND to develop their social and emotional skills in a natural setting. For example, collaborative activities such as team-building exercises or group projects can help children develop communication, cooperation, and problem-solving skills in a less structured and more relaxed environment.
- Reduced stress and anxiety: Some children with SEND may find traditional classroom settings stressful or overwhelming. Outdoor environments can offer a more relaxed and calming atmosphere, which can help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being for these pupils.
- Multi-sensory learning: Outdoor learning naturally lends itself to multi-sensory experiences, which can be particularly beneficial for pupils with SEND who may learn best through hands-on, experiential activities that engage multiple senses simultaneously.
Outdoor learning provides a range of benefits for all our pupils including enhanced sensory experiences, opportunities for physical activity, real-world context for learning, social and emotional development, reduced stress and anxiety, and multi-sensory learning experiences. These benefits can contribute to a more inclusive and enriching educational experience for all our pupils.