Natural learning is all about following natural curiosity, learning by experiencing, connecting with nature and valuing a creative approach. At the centre of the natural learning ethos lies the importance of caring for yourself, for each other and for the world around us.
Being an active learner means getting fully involved, physically moving around to explore and having a reason to want to find out more. Activity aids memory, while sedentary learning encourages the mind to wander off elsewhere. Jump up out of the chair, head outside, make, explore and find out something new.
Sharing time between different areas of learning provides balance. Physical activity, cognitive brain work and free creative time are equally important and compliment each other. Some learning will fall into one group and others will overlap. Getting balance in the day can be as simple as allocating an hour to each area.
Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes; from engineering problem-solving to colourful artistic creations. Being creative in your thinking is the greatest skill, and the best opportunity for later success. Finding a different solution, a new use for an object, an answer no-one had thought of – that’s creativity hard at work and a sure sign of a happy, healthy mind developing new connections.
Give a reason to find out information by turning a worksheet into a treasure trail, hanging cards on trees and under stones instead of on a page. Write morse code messages on leaves to be found around an outdoor space.
Works of wonder can take all day and combine active, balanced and creative learning using skills of design, problem-solving, making and communicating ideas. The brief can be really simple; make the longest marble run, make a box with a surprise inside, perform a puppet show, build a den for two, make a hat, cook for an indoor picnic, turn an old piece of clothing into something new.
Go off on an interesting tangent when a new exciting idea is suggested or an unplanned creation pops in the mind.
Next time: Discovery, Everybody, Flexibility
Louise has taught in classrooms of all shapes and sizes, as a primary school teacher, forest school leader and trainer, outdoor learning consultant and researcher. She writes resources and stories for outdoor and woodland learning adventures using the natural learning ethos.