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Cross curricular: Learning outdoors

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By Rosie WardenJunior Ed PLUS Guest Editor 2007 and Year 4 teacher

Cross curricular: Discover some dip-in activity ideas to help you make the most of nature’s teaching resources

girl blowing bubbles

Take learning outside the classroom and embrace the great outdoors

The ‘outdoor classroom’ has always been central to the Early Years philosophy, given that it provides such rich contexts for practical problem solving, negotiation and language development. Unfortunately, as children get older and the curriculum becomes more formal, that sense of playfulness and discovery is lost. Perhaps it’s time we ventured outside where there are fewer restrictions on space and on the type of teaching materials at our disposal. Moreover, in the current climate of environmental concern, outdoor learning provides a useful platform for raising awareness of the issues of sustainability, and if nothing else, your kinaesthetic learners will thank you for it!


The using and applying aspects in maths lend themselves to outside areas. As well as enabling children to explore lengths and measures around the school, they could also try practical problem solving.

1. Children could work out the area of the school car park or calculate the total length of fencing needed for a particular part of the school. (For example, will a fence feature in their ‘Junior entrepreneurs’ project on pages 16-17?)

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