Links to Useful Videos

For the website Children Learning Outside the Classroom: From Birth to Eleven

Critical engagement is something that we should apply to all our viewing and reading. These video stimuli are intended, like the chapters in the accompanying book, to raise questions about the practice you witness or read about and what that analytical thinking can then highlight about your own practices.

A.  Is outdoor learning a good idea? In this short video, Ken Robinson offers five possible motivations:

1    Nature is a powerful resource.

2    Children can learn through practical hands-on activities.

3    You can tap into children’s curiosity.

4    It is a social experience and children learn from working together.

5    Learning outdoors is fun.

Do you agree with him? What would be your top five?

B.  Richard Louv talks about awe and wonder and the power of nature to inspire this sense in children.

C.  A short reflection about the challenges of performativity in the United States in comparison to Danish udeskole where learning different subjects outside is seen as a good thing.

D.  The Natural Connections Demonstration project (2012–2016), the largest outdoor learning project in the United Kingdom, gathered some brilliant evidence about the positive benefits of taking learning right across the curriculum outside the classroom. This short film shows how both teachers and pupils appreciated the opportunities that moving lessons outside has represented and how it helped transform school cultures and teaching approaches. This film shows that it does not need to cost a lot, but the use of local natural environments, including schools grounds, can make the curriculum really come alive and help children and teachers feel happier and healthier.

E.   This series of Grounds for Learning/Learning through Landscapes  films could be suitable for staff meetings or parental information sessions. The short videos (about 4–5 minutes) offer great examples and reflections on the learning that is being promoted. The focus is more on play outside, but there are many ideas that are applicable to later stages of education. The films have questions to stimulate thinking about their content. There is also a linked advice booklet that is free to download. 

F.   David Attenborough narrates this short film for Learning through Landscapes, which shows how precious schools grounds are in providing access to natural environments and thus in creating the next generation of potential environmentalists.

The shortage of school grounds space through rising pupil numbers that he describes reminds me of a local primary school that timetabled one class outside throughout the week as there were not enough classrooms to go round. By the end of the year, the teachers wanted to continue the practice. The Natural Connections project showed that experience and practice in teaching outside frequently creates a demand from teachers for more time to do it.

What implications might this have for how you could begin to spread outdoor learning throughout the school? As an example, one Natural Connections school organized outdoor planning walks between colleagues to collaboratively develop ideas for curriculum links and progression.

G.  What are perceived obstacles to providing outdoor learning? Risk? Another great film from Grounds for Learning shows how risk can be controlled and managed by staff and children in partnership. This builds children’s own ability to assess and cope well with uncertainty and risk and thus may underpin resilience in the face of difficulties.

H.  This film from the Children and Nature Network argues that increasing disconnection of children from nature has adverse effects and extends the idea of getting children learning outside the classroom to out-of-school nature clubs for family-friendly activities. Parental partnership may help to allay any concerns about appropriate balance between risks and benefits for children. Is this a barrier in your school? How might you dispel those fears?

I.    Starting early with outdoor experience can really ignite and nurture children’s curiosity and interest. This Early Years film also shows how even the journey to a natural area can form a valuable part of outdoor learning, developing observational, social, language and physical skills and extending learning seamlessly from indoor lessons.

J.    Scandinavia is often credited as being where the forest school concept originated. This film of Danish forest kindergartens offers an opportunity for you to consider cultural dimensions to how practices can be transferred.

K.  The film ‘Kids gone wild’ challenges some of the ideas about what is needed to educate a child, using the example of Danish forest kindergarten, which comprises about 10% of preschool provision in Denmark. The film is narrated by an Australian. Consider some of the cultural clashes that are evident, and read Chapter 4 about global perspectives in the book alongside this film. What learning is going on here, by whom and how is it being mediated? Trust is mentioned in relation to inspection but what other sort of trust can you observe?

The film also raises the important issue of what school readiness means, which you can reflect upon in relation to Chapter 5. Lots of food for thought!

L.   Finally, we can provide a DVD that was made as an illustration of strengths and challenges in early years settings and primary school outdoor learning provision as a series of case studies within a research project 10 years ago. It is only available for use where participants in CPD or ITT have DBS clearance because of ethical consent conditions.

This film shows a childminder, playgroup, private nursery, foundation stage class and primary school outdoor practices and can help to stimulate thinking about shifting cultural contexts and some enduring qualities of what makes good practice in outdoor play and learning. What do you think has changed in the intervening years since 2006?

Please contact if you would like to have a copy of this.