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Even the oldest students can benefit from learning outdoors

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@ACSintschools -As highlighted by this year’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, nature is central to our psychological and emotional health. As a teacher, I have seen first-hand that getting outdoors and exploring nature can have profound benefits for a young person’s wellbeing and emotional development, but it can also provide valuable learning opportunities – no matter how old the student is.

While outdoor learning can be easy to visualise for younger children, who naturally learn by playing, what role can the outdoors play in the education of teenagers, you might ask?

Our school offers a robust outdoor learning programme tailored to students of all ages. For our High School students, nature continually presents opportunities for valuable insight and knowledge to be gained, as well as valuable life lessons. For example, by taking a science lesson outside, teenagers can explore the impact of modern living on the environment by discovering the intricacies and fragility of our diverse ecosystems in greater detail.  On a more holistic level, outdoor learning provides greater opportunity for students to strengthen bonds with their peers, using teamwork to problem solve and build on their knowledge of the natural world.

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As well as harnessing all of the learning that nature presents, since returning to school from the COVID-19 lockdowns, we’re taking every opportunity to conduct more traditional lessons outside too. What better way to learn about algebra than when outside on the grass, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air?

Breaking down the core elements of learning, and applying it in the great outdoors, engages teenagers with exciting and informative learning opportunities, all the while improving health and overall wellbeing. So, if your teenager is feeling worried or stressed about school work or other aspects of school life, encourage them to take a walk outside, or, better yet, ask them if it’s possible to study outside.

Barnaby Sandow, Head of School, ACS International School Cobham

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