Learning To Love the Great Outdoors

Evidence suggests that children are spending less time outdoors than their parents did when they were children. In response to this, we have designed an outdoor learning programme for the Primary 1 and 2 classes throughout terms one and three, which allows the girls to explore the great outdoors.

There are many reasons for incorporating outdoor learning into our everyday learning:

Health benefits – according to numerous studies, children should be active for at least one hour a day. Being outdoors is one way to ensure this happens. The active outdoor play develops their gross and fine motor skills and burns off energy. We also need sun exposure to make Vitamin D which is important for bone development, our immune system and helping good sleep patterns. The relaxed outdoor environment helps with mental wellbeing, making them feel happier and calmer and reduces stress. This helps them to be more focused back in the classroom.

Social skills – learning how to work together is an important life skill. As outdoor spaces are usually less crowded than indoors, it is less intimidating and helps children to naturally come out of their shells and be more social. They tend to be more willing to join in games and interact with different groups of girls.

Appreciation of the natural world – the future of our planet depends on our children and they need to experience it to learn to appreciate it. During our outdoor learning experiences, they discover animals in their own surroundings and learn about their habitats and lifecycles. They have real hands-on experiences of the world around them. They learn to respect and care for their environment, creating a life-long appreciation and love of the outdoor world.

Freedom – children need to learn to take some risks so they can learn from making mistakes and from having success. They are more likely to try something out of their comfort zone with the freedom of the outdoors. They are given the opportunity to make calculated risks, therefore, developing their resilience skills. Children are generally more curious, creative, self-directed and focused for longer when playing outdoors. They use their imagination and problem-solving skills with the natural open-ended resources outdoors.

Creating positive memories - can you remember your favourite memory of school? Was it a school outing? What do you remember about playing outside as a child? What was it that you enjoyed? Could it be the freedom that you had of your unstructured play? Let’s give our children their best memories of their lives with these outdoor experiences.

Outdoor learning initiatives are also supported by the Scottish Government. Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:  ‘We know the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play for young children, in terms of their health and wellbeing and their physical and mental development. Playing, learning and having fun outdoors helps improve wellbeing and resilience, increases physical activity and allows children to use the natural world to develop curiosity and science skills.’

(Learning Outdoors, Scottish Government)

For more information about sending your daughter to St Margaret’s, please contact our Admissions team at


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