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From Scavenger Hunts to Sensory Walks: How OWIS Nanyang Uses Outdoor Learning to Inspire Students

From Scavenger Hunts to Sensory Walks: How & Why OWIS Nanyang Uses Outdoor Learning to Inspire Students
LearnPost Category - LearnLearn - Post Category - SchoolsSchools

There are so many socio-emotional, academic and well-being benefits to outdoor learning which is why it is part of the curriculum at One World International School Nanyang

Learning doesn’t need to be limited to the classroom. There are valuable lessons that can be enhanced in different settings which is why primary students at One World International School Nanyang complete many lessons outdoors. By expanding their horizons beyond the desk, children develop a holistic understanding of academic concepts while cultivating vital life skills and a profound connection with the natural world.

Let’s dive into the benefits of outdoor learning and how it is integrated into the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) at OWIS Nanyang.

Integrating Outdoor Learning Into Academics

From Scavenger Hunts to Sensory Walks: How & Why OWIS Nanyang Uses Outdoor Learning to Inspire Students
In Maths, children measure the length and width of selected school spaces in metres and centimetres.

Realising the immense benefits of outdoor learning, primary teachers at One World International School (OWIS) Nanyang carefully plan lessons that leverage the natural environment to improve student engagement and academic mastery.

In Maths, for example, children may use chalk to create shapes during a lesson on angles. Or, they may use moving wheels to measure the length and width of selected school spaces in metres and centimetres. Other examples of outdoor learning in Maths include:

  • A nature scavenger hunt in which children must collect a certain number of natural items like rocks, leaves and sticks
  • Relays that combine physical movement and sportsmanship with Maths exercises
  • An observation activity in which children collect data from their environment (e.g., the number of red cars in the parking lot, the different types of birds flying overhead).

Outdoor learning is also helpful during provocations. At OWIS Nanyang, provocations are open-minded exercises that prompt students to engage in creative and critical thinking about the upcoming unit’s subject matter.

Outdoor learning in action: Grade 3 sensory walk around the campus

For example, during the “Sharing the Planet” unit, Grade 4 students explored the school grounds to identify various birds, insects and plant species. Similarly, Grade 1 students explored the school grounds to learn more about signs and symbols during a unit on communication while Grade 3 took a sensory walk around the campus and used their five senses to record words that they later used to write a sensory poem.

4 Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Research shows that outdoor learning has several socio-emotional, academic and well-being benefits, including:

1. Enhanced Engagement and Focus: Outdoor environments provide a stimulating backdrop for learning, capturing students’ interest and curiosity. In return, they engage more deeply with the subject matter and exhibit higher rates of academic mastery than students who strictly learn in a traditional classroom setting.

2. Improved Psychological Health: Immersion in natural environments helps children appreciate and connect with the world around them. This connection has been shown to reduce anxiety and boost the mood. It also suits different learning styles, such as those who are kinesthetic and others.

3. Better Physiological Health: Outdoor learning is linked to improved motor development and overall physical health.

4. Improved Executive Functioning: Executive functioning refers to a set of cognitive skills that help children achieve goals. These skills range from time management to self-regulation. Research shows that time outdoors stimulates the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin and promotes the growth of new neurons, all of which contribute to enhanced cognitive abilities.

Book a Tour at OWIS Nanyang

The outdoor learning experiences at OWIS Nanyang provide primary school students with opportunities to connect with the curriculum in fun, meaningful ways. In return, children exhibit improved physical and socioemotional health and they feel more engaged in their learning experience. 

To learn more about how OWIS integrates nature into learning, book a tour at OWIS Nanyang today or join an upcoming Open House

One World International School (OWIS), Nanyang Campus, 21 Jurong West Street 81, Singapore 649075, [email protected], Tel: (+) 6914 6700, www.owis.org

Brought to you in partnership with One World International School (OWIS) Nanyang

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