5 books every LOtC champion should read

Date Posted: 27/08/2015

Gen up on outdoor learning and the theory behind it with these books.

Research shows that learning outside the classroom has the most impact on educational outcomes when it’s approached holistically; embedded in a school’s philosophy rather than viewed as a one-off treat for pupils at the end of term.

Of course, it’s not always easy to get an entire school on your bandwagon. Budgets, mind-sets and time limits can all act as barriers to a school taking an integrated approach to LOtC.

But they say knowledge is power. Artillery for your fight for deeper engagement with all forms of away-from-desk learning comes in the form of books.

Here are a few suggestions for your reading list that should arm you with arguments for the benefits of LOtC and outdoor learning, and give you a few ideas for ways of getting your pupils outside. 

Dirty Teaching – A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors, Juliet Robertson

Released just over a year ago, this book is full of tips and tricks for Primary school teachers. Its premise is that the key to a happy and creative classroom is the ability to get out of it. It draws on academic research to explore the benefits of LOtC and offers suggestions on how to integrate outdoor learning into your present practice.

Topics covered in the book include forest schools, nature activities, caring for the environment, urban outdoor activities and creative thinking.

Roots and Wings: A History of Outdoor Education and Outdoor Learning in the UK, Ken C Ogilvie

This book is a few years old now, but its timeline won’t go out of date. It starts by exploring man’s relationship with the natural world, going as far back as 700,000 BC, then moves on to consider our changing approaches to learning in the natural environment.

The best bit is, this book is now available to download as a free PDF.

The Outdoor Classroom in Practice, Karen Constable

This book offers practical guidance on how to set up a forest school, or forest school style learning experiences. It’s set out in a month by month format, starting at the beginning of a new school term and outlines everything from how to prepare a forest school in your own setting to ideas for seasonal activities – from inspecting spiders’ webs to cooking over a fire.

Each chapter includes a case study, as well as advice. Plus it offers practical advice on how to interpret learning progressions and gives ideas for follow-up activities back in the classroom.

50 Ideas for Maths Outdoors, Kirstine Beeley

This book has been written in a dip in, dip out format. It offers ideas for developing existing provision and for building new resources to get children engaged in one of the hardest Curriculum subjects. Ideas include Balloon Hoopla and Bucket Maths, and suggestions are budget friendly and easy to implement.

Kristine’s other books in this series include 50 Fantastic Things to Do With A Water Tray and 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Paint.

One to watch:

Adventurous Learning: A Pedagogy for Changing the World

Written by Simon Beames and Mike Brown, this book goes on sale in February 2016. The book interrogates the word adventure and the way it is used in education today. Plus it explores how elements of authenticity, agency, uncertainty and mastery can be incorporated into educational practices. It outlines key elements for a pedagogy of adventurous learning and provides guidelines grounded in accessible theory. 

School Travel Organiser's Guide