One of the myths about outdoor learning is that you need a qualification to do it. In this blog post, I want to help bust that myth. And inspire you to take learning outdoors every day!
The outdoor learning qualification myth
In my experience working with schools, one of the common things that comes up is that you need a qualification in order to take learning outside. And as a result, it’s left many teachers with low confidence and concerns about risk about doing it themselves.
Whilst it’s true that there are some fantastic qualifications out there, there are many strands to outdoor learning. And having a qualification and delivering those specific programmes, like Forest School, is just one element of outdoor learning.
In other words: no, you don’t need a qualification to take learning outside.
My experience and reflections
I am a Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader, Beach School Leader and a qualified Bushcraft Instructor. I also have an OCN Level 3 Introduction to Youth and Community Work and a Foundation in Youth and Community Work.
I found all of these qualifications to be valuable, and they have certainly enhanced and developed my skills. But they focus on specific areas of working with young people. Or a specific area of outdoor learning that follows a particular methodology or has specific aims.
What I’m keen to encourage, promote and inspire others to do is simply break out of the classroom from time to time and recognise the value and importance that this has for pupils. And especially for those who find it harder to engage in the classroom.
So, what is the difference between the various types of Outdoor Learning?
There are many different strands to outdoor learning. And each approach has it’s own aims and methodology that makes it unique, like Forest School for example, which requires a formal qualification. That’s not to say that one approach is better than another. Just that each has it’s unique approach and different benefits for participants.
Outdoor learning is the umbrella term for any kind of learning that takes place outdoors. From specific programmes that require qualifications, to one off activities that just simply take place outside. In its simplest form, is does what it says on the tin. You learn. Outdoors. In whatever shape or form that takes.
How can I break out of the classroom?
There are lots of resources online which provide a great starting point. Try the schools section of the Nature Detectives website or Project Wild Thing for some inspiration and free downloadable resources.
If you’re looking to build confidence rather than qualifications, do check out the teacher CPD section of our website. You could book some 1-2-1 time with me or try our one day Better Out Than In workshop as a starting point.
Give it a go and take learning outdoors. Your pupils will love it. And we guarantee you’ll enjoy it too!