Learning in nature


This themed collection is for teachers and school leaders on the theme of learning in nature. A themed collection brings together a range of useful resources on a specific topic to support practitioners deepen their knowledge in this area and shape their own professional learning. These collections can also be used to inform collegues’ professional development and inform school policy and practice.

Focusing specifically on learning in natural outdoor settings (as opposed to built-environment locations such as museums or city streetscapes), this collection explores the impact of outdoor learning on wellbeing and attention and considers the different barriers to learning outdoors. It is designed to help you to critically reflect on the current opportunities for outdoor learning in your context and how you may support students to engage with nature.

This themed collection incorporates a range of content types to support professional learning and reflective practice, including:

  • A case study on bringing nature into the curriculum in accessible and creative ways and research reviews summarising the latest evidence base
  • Reflective questions to support learning and reading lists signposting further support and resources.

Articles and case studies

Hear about approaches to outdoor learning and the benefits of, and barriers to, learning outdoors. We invite you to make notes on the different approaches taken to learning in nature to inform your own next steps and consider how you might apply some of these insights in your setting. 

Taking curriculum learning outdoors
Smarter by nature: Does research suggest that young brains can be nurtured by nature? If so, why hasn’t this influenced school curriculum and pedagogy?
We’re all in the wild: Inclusive, creative ways to support young people to discover local outdoor spaces
Connecting the curriculum to nature can deepen learning

Research summaries

A research summary is a short article that summarises the evidence-base underpinning a particular approach. In this case, we invite you to read the following research summaries to develop your understanding of the evidence that informs effective approaches to outdoor learning.

Outdoor learning and wellbeing
Forest school: outdoor learning experiences in UK primary education
Lessons in nature: What is the impact on children’s engagement during subsequent indoor lessons?
Learning outdoors

Reflective questions 

Having engaged with the resources above, reflect on these questions to develop your knowledge of outdoor learning and consider how you might apply your learning in your setting.

  • What opportunities for outdoor learning do you currently have in your context?
  • How might you further support students to engage with nature in your context? 
  • How could the impact of these opportunities on wellbeing be captured and reflected upon?
  • What are the barriers to learning outdoors in your context and how might they be overcome?
  • Are there particular students who may benefit from increased time outdoors in nature? How could this form part of their support? 

Further reading and resources 

Jucker R, von Au J, Editors. 2022. High-quality outdoor learning: evidence-based education outside the classroom for children, teachers, and society. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-04108-2

The Woodland Trust’s outdoor learning pack includes tips for teaching outside

Learning through landscapes offers a range of free outdoor lesson ideas and resources

The Field studies council has free resources for primary and secondary teachers

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