Outdoor Learning Area

Have you seen our our new outdoor learning area? It's been a huge hit in the week it's been open, both as an outdoor classroom and a magical play space.

The design came from a collaborative approach over a long period of time. We started with the idea of creating something special; a place of beauty that kids would be naturally attracted to. A part of the school grounds wasn’t used much, so it was developed into a space which represented our local environment. It’s a mountains to the sea theme. Good quality, local materials were used to create a forested area with timber benches, a stone wall, musical instruments and native garden. Further down the slope there’s a communal area we call the campfire, before the space opens up into a beach area, complete with fishing boat, jetty and surf boat. We even created the Five Islands.

The outdoor classroom fits perfectly with our belief that learning occurs anytime, anywhere. It used to be the case that learning at school would only occur in classrooms. Now we know that kids enjoy flexibility in how and where they learn. Their learning benefits from having choice; they’re able to collaborate more easily or find their own personal space that allows them to be productive. On top of that there’s research that indicates great learning benefits occur from spending time in spaces with lots of natural light and fresh air, as opposed to sitting at a desk in a more traditional classroom.

The space is being used daily as a play area and a learning centre. During play times, kids use the area as an outside maker space, using their imaginations to invent games and activities. The outdoor chimes and drums have been a huge hit! During class time, kids will use the space for pretty much anything they can do inside. The area’s big enough to comfortably accommodate a couple of classes and since our students each have a connected device, we’d expect to see iPads and laptops alongside drawing pads and science gear.

And we know that when we create a learning environment in which kids choose to be, the foundations are there for great learning to occur.

Click here to view photos of the outdoor learning area.