Making The Case for Outdoor Learning

Research, reports, policy documents and news items in support of Outdoor Learning


The demand for Outdoor Learning programmes is increasing and strong cases are being made in support of the value of Outdoor Learning. All the following documents in this blog have a connection to the benefits of getting active, sharing an adventure, and enjoying the outdoors. This is dynamic and growing resource - please get in touch to suggest or share an entry.

You can find some key research papers here covering effective policy and practice in the sector. If you are looking to get involved in regional research, follow this link to find the research hub closest to you.


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Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning : 2010 Learning and Teaching Scotland

The journey through education for any child in Scotland must include opportunities for a series of planned, quality outdoor learning experiences. Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning is designed to help teachers, educators, Community Learning and Development (CLD) and their partners, including the voluntary sector, plan such experiences to ensure that progressive and sustainable outdoor learning opportunities are embedded in the new curriculum.

Outdoor learning contributes to delivering the Scottish Government’s overarching strategic objectives towards ‘creating a more successful country’:

Smarter – Outdoor learning encourages learners to understand the interplay and relationship between curriculum areas. This awareness promotes lifelong learning and develops critical thinking skills.

Healthier – Learning outdoors can lead to lifelong recreation. Activities such as walking and cycling which are ideal for physical and emotional wellbeing contribute to a healthier Scotland. Scots have a reputation for adventure activities such as mountaineering and have achieved international sporting success in canoeing, sailing and skiing.

Safer and stronger – Outdoor learning activities span social divisions and can help build stronger communities. Some organisations have therapeutic programmes where outdoor learning plays a central role. Children and young people have opportunities to develop skills to assess and manage risk when making decisions.

Greener – Frequent and regular outdoor learning encourages children and young people to engage with the natural and built heritage. Scotland’s countryside and urban areas provide ideal settings for children and young people to understand the global significance of sustainability issues and inform personal decisions that contribute towards a greener Scotland.

Wealthier and fairer – The outdoors provides excellent opportunities to use a wide range of skills and abilities not always visible in the classroom. Becoming aware of such skills can fundamentally change personal, peer and staff perceptions and lead to profound changes in life expectations and success.

This document outlines the integral role outdoor learning has in the new curriculum. It signposts ways for teachers, educators and their partners to plan for and use the outdoor environment to provide imaginative effective contributors learning and teaching which is relevant, lively and motivating. All staff at every level of involvement with the education of children and young people have a responsibility to make the most of the outdoor environment to support the delivery of the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence.

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