Welcome to Outdoor Learning Information & Resources
On this page you will find information and resources dedicated to helping teachers increase their confidence in taking students into the outdoors across a variety of curriculum focus areas.
Through DET’s Strategic Partnership Program funding (SPP), Outdoors Victoria as lead organisation in partnership with ACHPER Victoria (Australian Council Health Physical Education and Recreation), EEV (Environment Education Victoria), GTAV (Geography Teachers Association of Victoria) and Parks Victoria have created a series of Teacher Toolkit resources to encourage the use of using the outdoors within your every day classes.
Defining Outdoor Learning through the Australian Curriculum
Outdoor learning engages students in practical and active learning experiences in natural environments and settings, and this typically takes place beyond the school classroom. In these environments, students develop the skills and understandings to
move safely and competently while valuing a positive relationship with naturalenvironments and promoting the sustainable use of these environments.
What are the benefits of Outdoor Learning for students?
Having students engage in Outdoor Learning has been shown to provide many benefits across schooling. As noted in the Australian Curriculum
Students can gain unique and specific benefits from outdoor learning, including skills and understandings, while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promote sustainable use of these environments.
Outdoor Learning Toolkits
What is Included in the Toolkits ?
Within the Teacher Toolkits you will find a range of information from benefits of Outdoor Learning, considerations when developing and launching an Outdoor Learning program, Case Studies from Victorian Primary schools, sample letter to families and how to discuss Outdoor Learning with fellow colleagues in addition to 100+ curriculum aligned activities.
These Outdoor Learning toolkits were created throughout 2018 and 2019, through further consultation with the teaching community around the impacts of COVID-19 on Education these toolkit documents have been modified and re-released to assist teachers in school based and at home learning. In the coming months a total of Six more toolkits will be released including but not limited to Outdoor Learning in History, Reading / Writing, Speaking/ Listening and indigenous perspectives.
Access the following toolkits below:
- Introduction to Outdoor Learning
- Outdoor Learning in the playground
- Outdoor Learning in a water-based environment
- Introducing Outdoor Learning into Arts
- Introducing Outdoor Learning into Science
- Introducing Outdoor Learning into Maths
- Introducing Outdoor Learning into Health and Physical Education
- Introducing Outdoor Learning in an urban environment, and;
- Introducing Outdoor Learning into Geography
- Health Education
- Reading and Writing
- Speaking and Listening
- Introduction to Outdoor Learning
- Outdoor Learning into Geography
- Outdoor Learning into Physical Education
Toolkit 1: An Introduction
This Teacher Toolkit is offered as a framework for developing your own curriculum specific ideas and activities for Outdoor Learning. It is quite flexible and should be adapted to suit your needs. Toolkit 1 Benefits of Outdoor Learning presents research that will help you argue the case for taking students out of the classroom.
Toolkit 2: In the Playground
This teacher toolkit looks at opportunities to integrate Outdoor Learning into your everyday activities without leaving the school ground. We show a range of 13 activities with minimal and inexpensive equipment. This toolkit will help you develop knowledge of practical ways to include Outdoor Learning into your class and create your own exciting activities and experiences.
Toolkit 3: Water Based Environments
Toolkit 6: Geography
Outdoor/fieldwork provides opportunities to stimulate all the senses and become powerful memories for students. In the field they can engage using an inquiry approach, encouraging curiosity and exploration. In particular, outdoor learning in Geography can enable sensory and exploratory play and learning.
The outdoor environment has played an integral component of science teaching and learning ever since its introduction. This toolkit will provide you with 10 detailed science activities that can be conducted in the outdoors. Each of these activities have been suggested by current science teachers with decades of experiences across a range of year and curriculum levels.
Maths and the outdoors are subjects that do not traditionally go hand in hand although many maths teachers use practical activities to provide a deeper level of learning to their students. It is important that everyone feels comfortable in integrating the outdoors into their lessons. This toolkit offers more than ten activities that can be used at any year level to promote outdoor learning in Maths. In 2020 further activities activities and research notes will be added.
This Teacher Toolkit looks at the opportunities for integrating Outdoor Learning in Urban Environments. You will find a series of 10 activities that can be used across various year levels and student groups. In this Teaching Toolkit, we provide sample activities which use minimal equipment and have a quick setup time.
This toolkit will provide a range of activities that can be used to embed outdoor learning into teaching the area of sustainability. Throughout this toolkit, you will find 10 activities that are aligned with the Victorian curriculum and examples of how the effectiveness of teaching sustainability can be increased.
Outdoor Learning in the Humanities (History)
Using outdoor environments to teach historical knowledge and skills is an exciting challenge for primary teachers. It requires planning, innovative pedagogical practice and familiarity with the local history and environment. This toolkit offers practical and inexpensive activities for learning.
Outdoor Learning in English
The teaching of English presents many and varied opportunities to engage in outdoor learning. Due to the breadth and size of the English curriculum, this curriculum area has been broken into 2 toolkits with varied focus areas. This toolkit looks at opportunities to embed Outdoor Learning in Reading and Writing activities.
The teaching of English presents many and varied opportunities to engage in outdoor learning.
Toolkit 14 looks at opportunities to embed Outdoor Learning in Speaking and Listening activities. Due to the close relationship between Reading, Writing and Speaking, Listening there will be elements of cross over between the 2 documents, when this occurs it will be highlighted.
Significant research has been undertaken to assess the effectiveness of music learning within the outdoor environment, particular from Adams and Beauchamp (2021) and their academic article titled “The impact of music-making outdoors on primary school-aged pupils (aged 7–10 years) in the soundscape of nature from the perspective of their primary school teachers”.
Nature-based environments have long had a connection back to language development and students
undertaking language development in a language outside of their birth language. Beatson (2020), within their
master’s thesis on “play-based natural environments and language development in young children,” found that
“Nature-based outdoor environments are dynamic settings, providing multiple clues and meanings for new
words to be learned within that context.”
This Teacher Toolkit is offered as a framework for developing your own curriculum-specific ideas and activities for Outdoor Learning. It is quite flexible and should be adapted to suit your needs. Remember to note the benefits of Outdoor Learning in your teaching area, and to provide tips wherever you can for embedding Outdoor Learning into the curriculum.
Include relevant research, case studies and examples that might assist teachers. Teacher Toolkit 1 Benefits of Outdoor Learning presents research that will help you argue the case for taking students out of the classroom.
The outdoor area is a vital learning environment for students. Outdoor and fieldwork learning provides students with opportunities to engage with peers, apply theoretical knowledge and practice key geographical skills. In the field, students can engage with real issues that are relevant to their lives, using an inquiry approach to encourage
curiosity and exploration. Given geography is the study of the world and its processes and interconnections, it is difficult to gain a full understanding of key skills and knowledge without spending time outside.
Visiting environments further away from the school can foster in students an awareness of their own community, build a local sense of belonging and identity, encourage concern and respect for their local area and encourage participation in sustainable practices.
The outdoors and physical education come hand in hand together, yet this does not discount the possibilities that exist with embedding physical education activities in the outdoor environment in secondary schools. Embedded within this toolkit you will find a range of activities that can be a guiding point into embedding curriculum-aligned
outdoor learning activities across various year levels and student groups.