NRW welcomes emphasis on outdoor learning in Welsh Government’s guidance for schools

child looking at oak leaves

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has welcomed the publication of the Welsh Government’s ‘Keep Education Safe’ guidance for schools which recognises the significant benefits to be gained from outdoor learning.

Published against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the guidance states that outdoor learning and play should be “considered central to any approach to phased return” and that “schools should maximise the time learners spend outdoors”.

With a strong focus on supporting the health and well-being of learners and staff, the guidance highlights the physical, mental, emotional and educational benefits of outdoor learning. It also underlines the key role it can play in helping to manage social distancing and the minimising of virus transfer risks within schools in Wales which are set to reopen later this month following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Sue Williams, NRW’s Lead Specialist Advisor for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills said:

“We are delighted to see outdoor learning and its many benefits featuring so prominently in the Welsh Government’s guidance published this week.
“One of our core aims is to help every child in Wales experience and value the natural environment. We have long advocated the multiple benefits that come from outdoor learning – learning in, learning about and learning for the natural environment.
“Evidence shows that outdoor learning promotes a greater connection with nature and the world around us which is not only good for us, but also good for the environment.
“Embedding outdoor learning throughout the education system helps to improve attainment, ensure pro-environmental action from early childhood and promote lifelong positive behaviours – which is vitally important in addressing the current nature and climate change emergencies.”

NRW has been working closely with the Welsh Government over recent years to advocate the key role that outdoor learning can play in the delivery of the Curriculum for Wales.

Sue added:

“We are very glad to see the commitment to outdoor learning reflected in ‘Keep Education Safe’, particularly given the supportive role it can play in promoting health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 crisis.
“As schools gradually re-open, we’ll continue to work alongside our partners in the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Learning Training Network Cymru and Outdoor Learning Wales, to provide support for high quality teaching and learning through educator training, resources and national campaigns.”