9 Benefits of Outside Learning

With summer just around the corner, we know energy levels will be rising in the classroom along with the temperature outside! Children are desperate to be outside and taking a class out into the playground might be more beneficial to their education than you may first think.

Benefits to taking a class outside this summer!

Boosts creativity and imagination, meaning children can solve problems easier and are able to overcome challenges that they may have been struggling with.

Creates a deeper learning experience through play and experimentation. Children will be more engaged and involved with what they are learning and therefore, their retention will be better.

Reduces behaviour issues due to more stimulating environment and the fact that the lesson is a novelty.

Nurtures interest and understanding of the environment and how it works. Children can interact with their surroundings and see real life examples of how nature works.

Places children in a healthier environment by being outside in the fresh air. It tops up vitamin D levels (remember to stay protected from the sun!) and natural light is proven to boost people’s mood.

Provides tangible context to learning. If children are learning about plants, there is no better way to teach them than to go and find some real-life plants in their playground! It also enables a hands-on approach to be taken, letting children physically interact with their surroundings.

Builds relationships between peers as children work together and subsequently, builds confidence with their own abilities. It can improve social skills and help children to work collaboratively.

Decreases the stress levels of children by being in a less restrictive space and a healthier environment.

It’s fun! Learning can be done anywhere and sometimes giving children a more stimulating environment can make all the difference to their retention and understanding.

So why not take your class out this summer and see what benefits you see with your pupils!

World Migratory Bird Day

Today is World Migratory Bird Day!

5 facts we should probably know

  1. Did you know that 40% of all species of birds are migratory? In the United Kingdom about half of our bird species migrate especially those insect eaters, who can’t find enough food in the winter. Not surprisingly, in Scandinavia and Canada, almost all birds migrate south for warmer winters and conversely in the rain-forest very few birds migrate, choosing to stay where there is far more reliable weather and food supply

Examples of migratory birds in the UK are

The swallow https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swallow/

The Brent Goose https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/brent-goose/

  1. Some of the migrant birds in the UK may come for the summer and some for the winter but other species are what’s known as partial migrants. That means that in some countries a species of bird might stay in the same place, whilst in other countries the same species might migrate to somewhere else for the winter. Starlings are partial migrants – the ones that breed in the UK, stay in the UK but those that breed in Eastern Europe migrate to the UK in winter. The same is true for chaffinches, robins, lapwings, coots and many other common birds#

 

  1. Some species are what’s known as altitudinal migrants. That means that these live in high terrain in summer but lowland in winter. Although the journey may not be long, it often involves quite a change in lifestyle. Altitudinal migrants in the UK include skylarks, meadow pipits and snow buntings. Find out more about the Snow Bunting here:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/snow-bunting/

  1. One strange type of migrant bird is a group known as moult migrants. These migrate to a ‘safe’ territory to specifically allow them to shed their feathers. After their breeding season is over they fly to their designated place, shed their feathers including their flying feathers, then fly home when their feathers are grown back. Example of moult migrants are Shelducks who fly to the island of Heligoland to moult.

 

  1. There is one other type of migratory bird and these are known as passage migrants. These birds stop off in the UK during their long journey north or south and examples of such birds are green sandpipers and black terns. They use the UK like a service station for a few weeks.

If you think your pupils might be interested in celebrating our birds and specifically our migratory birds why not join in the activities on Migratory Bird Day 2018. You might want to start a School Garden log for children to note down t he birds they see.

Here are some websites with lots of ideas and resources to help you:

http://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/

Sun Awareness Week

Did you know it is Sun Awareness Week from the 14th – 20th May in the UK?

It’s a chance for an important reminder on the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and how you can protect yourself from its harmful rays.

 

Facts about skin and sun-damage

  1. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, but it is also the most preventable. Most skin cancer is caused by sunburn before the age of 18 or continued exposure to the sun without protection – more than 80% of adults don’t apply sun-cream in the UK!
  2. A suntan is really sun damage. By the time your skin changes colour, it is already damaged, and the colour change is the bodies response to the melanin being destroyed.
  3. Humans need the sun for vitamin D and to help us absorb calcium. Vitamin D helps us to build and maintain healthy teeth and bones and is a vital nutrient for our bodies. 30 minutes of early morning sun, before it’s rays are at full strength, can be very healthy. But be careful not to burn!
  4. When the skin bubbles, peels or blisters after a sunburn, it is actually a 2nd degree burn.
  5. There are 2 types of harmful rays from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause premature aging, whereas UVB will cause damage to the surface layers to the skin.

 

How to protect yourself from the Sun 

  1. Cover up in clothes that are tightly woven. The more transparent the item, the less protection it offers.
  2. Wear sun-cream with SPF30+ and check for UVA and UVB protection. In the UK, this is a star rating, so look for the 5* rating on your bottle.
  3. Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm as this is when it is at is most harmful.
  4. Wear a hat and use sunglasses that protect from UVA and UVB rays.

The sun can be very dangerous for our delicate skin, even though it many benefits are vital to sustain life on Earth. While the ozone layer around Earth helps to protect us from a lot of the dangers, it is important to stay protected when you’re out and about in the sunlight.

The benefits of the sun help to keep all life on Earth alive. Coupled with water and oxygen, sunlight is imperative. Heat generated from the suns rays help to stop our planet from freezing and makes it hospitable from us, the sunlight helps plants to turn carbon-dioxide into oxygen and, due to the Earth changing its tilt throughout the year, the amount of sunlight changes the seasons.

Some things you may not know about the Sun

  1. The sun is actually a star we have named “The Sun” – the philosopher Anaxagoras was the first to suggest that the sun is a stararound 450 BC. It is thought to be about 4.6 billion years old and estimated to be half way through its lifetime.
  2. It takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for light from the sun to reach Earth due to how far away the sun is; just under 93million miles away – and it’s our closest star!
  3. The suns gravity is 28x stronger than gravity on Earth and it is the reason why everything in our galaxy revolves around the sun, including all the planets.
  4. The sun has no solid surface and is just gas, mostly hydrogen, but helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are part of the mix.
  5. Photosynthesis is one of the most important things to happen on our planet. It is when plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide to oxygen and synthesise nutrients from water. Without this process, there would not be life on Earth as we know it.