One of the intellectual products of the project is webinars for educators and heads of educational institutions. The international webinars briefly discuss theoretical material about outdoor learning.
The recent and unplanned shift to distance learning during the spring of 2020 has disrupted traditional educational methods, causing difficulties within academic programs, ending extracurricular activities, and undermining assessment and academic feedback cycles in most schools.
Children and young people who have experienced this paradigm shift need many opportunities for imaginative play to help them make sense of the radical changes that have affected so many aspects of their lives.
And once they return to school in their presence, they will need a lot of time to process all the changes they have experienced.
The curiosity and connection triggered by learning outdoors could be a much-needed antidote to the anxiety and stress that children and young people experienced during the pandemic period. Decades of research and theory tell us that play is the primary way young children make sense of their world.
Play is how children maintain emotional balance; it is how they cope.
Play is the engine of their child’s identity development.
Play is not only the vehicle children use to cope with situations, but also the way they learn – how they construct concepts, invent ideas, and learn to think for themselves.
Outdoor learning can be the right compromise and can be applied to all subjects and does not necessarily require access to lush gardens or forests.
Technology can also help teachers apply outdoor learning. However, the shift to online learning has also exposed some of the educational flaws in our traditional structures of accountability, assessment, and standardized tests.
Motivating students through endless and demoralizing cycles of high-stakes tests and assessments do not bring us the deep learning and love of learning we desire, which is why we need a universal, high-quality online program based on the needs of each child.
High quality means an experiential, play-based program with qualified teachers who know the child’s development.
First webinar. Outdoor learning
Outdoor Education (OE) was born in the second part of the XX century in Northern European countries such as Norway, Germany, and Finland.
The OE also draws its origins from authors such as John Dewey, Rousseau, Steiner, and even Alexander Neil, in which experience, the external environment, and the link with nature were considered key concepts of education.
Born as a response to the indoorization phenomena that, from the industrial revolution onwards, have been the expression of the changing relationships between man and the environment, OE is today a pedagogical proposal that also offers a response to the new lifestyles imposed by the recent pandemic.
Second webinar. The outdoor learning approach applied to children aged 3-11.
“Schools began to exist when a man sitting under a tree, unaware that he was a teacher, began to discuss his awareness with a few others, who did not know they were students” Louis Kahn (1961)
Before talking about innovative schools, we need to rethink the concept of schooling and re-invent it to keep up with the new generations, more dynamic, technological, and more ‘complicated’ than in the past.
Rethinking the way, we teach, and rethinking spaces is a must!
To make a school, you don’t need great architecture, but, first and foremost, a willingness to teach – by a “teacher” – and the will to learn – by the “students”.
Third Webinar. The outdoor approach applied to adolescents
There is a symbolic analogy between Outdoor Education and the developmental dynamics of adolescence. The adolescent out of childhood and into adulthood crosses the threshold of the family and prepares for entry into society, to go beyond own self to learn to meet others and finally the world.
What educational experiences can support and accompany the desire for these “outings”?
And what role can be played by the relationship between the adolescent and the external environment?
E-learning materials in Lithuanian, Latvian, Greek, Turkish, Croatian, and English are available on the YouTube playlist.