When it comes to learning, the content of what we learn is usually emphasized. However, how and where we learn is equally important. As a teacher, I’m constantly looking for new ways to motivate my students to learn whether it’s including more hands-on activities, adding technology or changing the space in which we learn. Understanding how our students enjoy learning means we can create meaningful learning experiences that will result in increased motivation, attendance, and retention.

With spring temperatures on the rise, we’ve been taking our learning outdoors! So far, our students have enjoyed learning underneath the warmth of the sun and taking their breaks in the community. We’ve also been making trips to our local library to borrow books for our classroom in addition to other field trips. An added benefit of venturing into the community is learning and understanding community safety – how to cross the street, how to read road signs and navigate to our destination!

Another benefit of learning outside the classroom is fresh air! Our brains need to be refreshed if we are to learn. Being stuck indoors can sometimes cause us to drift off into our own daydreams or get stuck! Being outside with fresh air can be a very inspirational experience. Being outside can nurture our students’ creativity and imagination. For example, if we’re learning about aquatic animals, going on a field trip to an aquarium to see the animals in motion is much better than seeing still photos in a text book. Utilizing all our senses to learn ensures that we are constantly exploring the boundaries of our learning.

Finally, learning outside encourages our students to go for walking breaks to stretch their legs or play on the playground for some added gross motor benefits. It also encourages our students to interact with one another and develop interest in the environment.