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Creative Outdoor Learning – Sharing Practice

by James on December 15th, 2010

Creative learning in the sense of supporting a child to explore and learn about their environment, in ways relevant to their own interests and imaginations, has a whole range of benefits, as testified by the research of organisations such as 5x5x5=creativity.

When that creative learning experience is translated into an outdoor environment, the possibilities for full bodied, physical play increase and explorations take place within real (and imagined) worlds. This makes possible what I like to call ecological learning – when children learn through using their senses, minds and imaginations, exploring their place in the world through relationship and process, and from an embedded and embodied position.

In a time of climate change, and declining biodiversity, and with associated social health problems that stem also from our inability to perceive ourselves as continuous with the rest of the natural world, projects which give children and young people the opportunity to develop a sense of identity in relationship to the ecosystems and landscapes within which they live become vital.

I’ve got loads to say on this subject, but for now I thought I’d start by flagging up a few other individuals or organisations who are doing inspiring work in the area of creative outdoor learning, and invite you to do the same.

Developing mutually supportive networks of like-minded individuals, seems to me to be crucial if we are to develop a future for these children that is politically stable, culturally rich, and which provides opportunities for developing respectful, nurturing and wonder-ful relationships with rest of the natural world.

Here are a few links to kick things off, please add your own suggestions and recommendations as comments below.

Lily Horseman of Kindling (Cumbria & W Yorks) –

‘Kindling is how I share and explore ideas with other people; Forest Schools, Playwork, outdoor learning, and creative practice…’

Alistair Will at Outdoor Culture (Thames Valley)

‘Outdoor Culture produces imaginative experiences of green spaces, connecting communities with natural heritage and local landscape. ¬†We bring together the arts, environment and education sectors and create new reasons for everyone to spend time beyond buildings.’

Let the Children Play; a great blog from Jenny who is based at a pre-school in Australia, sharing creative approaches to early years education, taking place in the outdoors and/or working with reclaimed and natural (intelligent) materials

‘Over the years I have become passionate about progressive education, play based learning¬†and more recently, the importance of helping young children develop a relationship with the natural world…’

As this blog develops I’ll move look more at the relationship between this area of my work, and others such as heritage learning/education and arts practice, so please keep coming back to share your own work and ideas.

  1. This is a lovely post and I look forward to you expanding upon the creative aspect of taking learning outdoors in due course.

    You may be interested to know about my blog called “I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!” which has been up and running since August 2008. The blogroll page contains links to blogs where the authors do write at least occasionally about outdoor learning and play.

    My official website is . Here I post resources and links to Amazon listmania for outdoor books, Delicious for research articles, etc which should help save time.

  2. admin permalink

    Thanks Juliet, great to see you on here and thanks for the links…
    Look forward to following your blog,

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