March Blog: Outdoor Learning

Hello!

The end of February signifies to me that the worst of Winter is over. Although it’s not unheard of that we should get snow mid-March! I have my fingers crossed that the mild weather we’ve had so far will continue on into Spring and Summer, giving us some glorious conditions for the Centre’s opening in July!

If you follow us on social media, you will have seen the massive crane that recently arrived at our site to lay down the first floor of the Centre. It’s amazing how quickly the building itself is taking shape, and how quickly the Mount Cook dream is becoming a reality.

In preparation for the arrival of our first school groups and youth groups (Prince’s Trust & NCS) in July and August, we have been setting aside some time to enhance the educational value of the activities we will offer. The experiences we want to provide for children and young people will not only be hugely memorable and enjoyable, but also promote intellectual curiosity and learning.

Why learn outdoors?

There is a wealth of evidence to support the positive impact that spending time in the outdoors can have on the health and emotional well-being of children and young people. Through engaging in the wide spectrum of activities and experiences that the great outdoors has to offer, allows young people to develop new, important skills which can be translated into their school learning, future employment, and life!

Health & well-being

We know that children who engage in the outdoors through physical activity at an early age, are more likely to be active in later life. That’s why it is so important that young people should be given the freedom to embrace the natural environment through rock climbing, canoeing and many other exciting adventurous sports. It helps young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which in the long-run could help tackle child obesity and can improve mental health. According to research a high level of health and well-being in young people can promote creative thinking, productivity, good interpersonal relationships and emotional resilience in the face of challenges and obstacles – not to mention good physical health and life expectancy!

Sustainability

Learning outdoors also helps young people develop feelings of empathy and respect for the natural environment. Our educational programmes, such as ‘Exploring Nature’, will help foster positive sustainable attitudes by appreciating and drawing inspiration from the beauty of nature. We want our visitors to experience feelings of awe and wonder for the wild environments in and around our site. Our eco-friendly centre also demonstrates an awareness of the impact human actions can have on the environment, and how together we can reduce our carbon footprint.

These are just a few of the positive benefits learning outdoors has on children and young people. If you would like more information on the educational value of our activities, and how they can be used to compliment your school curriculum, please see our primary and secondary residential information sheets.

Finally, I want to leave you with this fantastic quote which neatly summarises the importance of learning beyond classroom walls:

Education in its broadest sense is not just about delivering a curriculum. It is about giving children the chance to extend their life skills. It is about developing their confidence. […] And – let us not forget- it is about the enjoyment, engagement and excitement about venturing out into the real world, with all its capacity for uncertainty, surprise, stimulation and delight.
— Tim Gill (2010), Nothing Ventured … Balancing risks and benefits in the outdoors, English Outdoor Council.

If you haven’t already, please give us a ‘Like’ and a ‘Follow’ on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a monthly newsletter which will keep you in the loop with the latest updates and events going on at Mount Cook – Sign up here!