Adventurers, explorers and people involved in sport, including figures such as Clive Woodward, have joined with leaders of outdoor centres, schools and charities, and others concerned with children’s wellbeing in signing a letter to the prime minister this week, urging him to allow outdoor education to resume as soon as possible in order to “save this valuable sector”.
The letter highlights the damage that the pandemic has done to children’s health and wellbeing. It also describes the impact of the pandemic on outdoor education as “catastrophic”.
It argues that outdoor education “has a unique role to play in helping to restore and rebuild confidence and mental health” and that “the benefits to health and wellbeing and to socio-emotional learning outcomes (including self-confidence, teamwork and resilience) have been well-evidenced.” In particular, it notes the benefits of outdoor education for disadvantaged children and for children who live in inner cities.
Organisations that have supported the message of the letter include the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) and the Institute for Outdoor Learning.
Earlier this week we applauded Youth Sport Trust’s call to make the remainder of this school year one of ‘active recovery’, adding that this was an idea for the long term and not just for a few weeks and months.
In February we highlighted PlayFirstUK, a group of academics who asked the education secretary to prioritise outdoor play over extra lessons and longer school days for children in the coming months as the country emerges out of lockdown.
Life-based learning emphasises the importance of daily physical activity, of playing sports and games, and of outdoor play and outdoor learning more generally. The Body is one of nine learning themes. It aims to boost children’s health and wellbeing partly through a coordinated and sustained whole-school focus on physical activity.
Image at the head of this article by Otto Wenninger from Pixabay.