Life Style

Outdoor schools: “we win by opening the classroom to the outside”

“These outings teach me to feel good with myself and with nature”

Manon, CM1 student at Caminando school (Drôme)

“My favorite time of the week is the sit-spot (1): every Thursday, we go up the hill. There, everyone has their own corner, well separated from that of their friends. Me, I climb on my oak tree and I observe what is happening around me. It lasts half an hour, until the gong sounds.

Then, we share with others what we have experienced, what we have felt. Sometimes, on our return, we are asked to write, for example, to tell about our meeting with a drop of water. These outings teach me to feel good with myself and with nature. “

“Do we learn more effectively in class, sitting down, with a book? “

Anna, teacher in a public school in a rural area, in Haute-Savoie

“A teacher for thirteen years, I think a lot about my practice. Today I say to myself that I would benefit from opening up my class more to the outside world. I organize two nature trips per month but I would like to do more.

→ REPORT. The Caminando school, in the Drôme: when nature promotes the desire to learn

I realized that I spent a lot of time reproducing between four walls situations that could in fact be found in the playground or around the school. That we could go and observe the plants in their environment rather than struggling to grow them in the classroom, go out and read a landscape rather than looking at books or projecting images on a screen …

Today, with legislation that has become draconian, it is not always easy to organize outings. And yet, on condition of training, one can derive great educational benefit from it. We can prepare the route, measure the distance, calculate the speed of the walk… So many exercises that we usually do from textbooks and which here take on their full meaning.

Having a class at several levels, I sometimes observe that my students have not retained much of what I taught them the previous year by striving to scrupulously respect the programs … Obviously, I come to ask myself: do we necessarily learn more effectively, in class, sitting down, with a book?

This question is all the more essential as more and more pupils with disabilities or with learning disabilities are being admitted to school, or even simply children who – perhaps because of their education in home – find it difficult to keep still, to bend to the constraints of the classroom. “

“National Education now supports this phenomenon”

Étienne Anquetil, educational advisor in the Clermont-Ferrand academy

“The open-air school is a well-established practice in the Nordic countries, in Germany, in Great Britain. And this trend is developing today in France, with a certain number of teachers, especially in kindergarten, who play a pioneering role, by teaching outside for one or two half-days a week.

National Education now supports this phenomenon with the production of numerous resources to enable volunteer teachers to be trained. With this idea also that almost all disciplinary fields can be approached in a transversal way in nature, in connection with it, and not only sport or biology. “


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