French-Swiss private school in Paris
French-Swiss private school in Paris
The benefits of experiential learning in the great outdoors.

The benefits of experiential learning in the great outdoors.

The benefits of experiential learning in the great outdoors.

As the world becomes more and more connected, the ability to communicate, especially in multiple languages, is increasingly important in opening the doors to so many opportunities. While the conventional classroom setting is good in laying the groundwork for learning a language, venturing outdoors greatly enriches the overall learning experience. 

Outdoor education, with the excitement of exploring different environments and learning through experience, is a fantastic way to push forward the learning of other languages by engaging all of the senses. 

Immersion and engagement

Bilingual education in outdoor settings offers a unique opportunity for a real, immersive experience. Through interaction with nature and their surroundings, children can hone their language skills in real-life scenarios. 

Whether describing the flora and fauna that surrounds them or participating in group activities, the outdoor setting provides a dynamic platform for language acquisition that goes far beyond the confines of a traditional classroom.

A Unique Learning Environment

Learning outside of the classroom, we are able to transform the learning space into a dynamic and captivating realm - opening a world to imagination. The natural world, an environment which heightens the senses through sight, sound and texture, fosters curiosity and a spirit of exploration, motivating students to actively engage with a second language.


Outdoor pursuits present endless opportunities to apply the target language authentically. Just as we learn in our native language, we use the environment to describe the natural world, engage in fun activities and interact with the outdoors to help approach language in a simple way. This makes learning more direct with greater, seeing in a very real way the meaning of words and allows children to link words and phrases to actual experiences.

Sensory Learning

The outdoors stimulates all the senses and help to accelerate the learning of languages in particular. Being outdoors encourages children to employ all their senses in exploring and interacting with the natural world. This not only enhances linguistic prowess but it also stimulates cognitive development. From touching tree bark to listening to birdsong, each encounter contributes to a richer understanding of language and the environment.


Engaging the Senses

Beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, outdoor settings offer such a range of experiences. Students can associate the target language with visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. For instance, visualising a beautiful butterfly while learning its name in whatever language is being learned fosters deeper vocabulary retention and conceptual understanding.


Cultural Appreciation Through Discovery

Exploring local environments in a second language enables students to forge connections between language and culture. This cultivates a deeper appreciation for cultural heritage and its interplay with the natural world. Imagine learning about indigenous plants and animals while they are also learning names and descriptions in a second language.


Collaboration, Communication, and Confidence Building

Outdoor learning fosters social interaction and collaboration among students, nurturing language proficiency and interpersonal skills in any language. Whether embarking on nature walks or getting involved in environmental initiatives, students learn to  communicate effectively and collaborate as a team in a non-native language. These collaborative endeavors not only bolster language skills but also cultivate crucial social and emotional competencies.


Collaborative Problem-Solving in Nature's Realm

Engaging in outdoor activities like gardening, nature walks, or scavenger hunts fosters teamwork and communication among students. Such activities provide opportunities to practice the target language in a social context, including teamwork, communication skills, and critical thinking.


Confidence Boosting Every Step of the Way

Using the target language in a supportive outdoor environment bolsters confidence in speaking and using a second language. Successfully completing tasks, engaging in discussions, and overcoming challenges outdoors instills a sense of achievement and is more likely to promote ongoing learning.


Enhancing Well-being

In addition to cognitive and linguistic advantages, outdoor learning promotes physical health and well-being. Spending time in nature is linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and overall enhanced health. By integrating language learning with outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening, or nature walks, students can reap the all encompassing benefits of learning in another language while enjoying the fullness of the natural world.


Increased Physical Activity

Bringing together outdoor activities with language learning encourages physical movement and time spent outdoors. This can enhance physical health, alleviate stress, and elevate overall well-being, thereby positively influencing learning and cognitive abilities.


Mental Stimulation and Focused Learning

The outdoors provides a stimulating environment which improves concentration and focus. Connecting with nature also enhances attentiveness, minimise distractions and fosters a positive atmosphere, one which is well suited for acquiring new language skills.


The Advantages of Learning Outdoors

Outdoor learning introduces a novel and stimulating dimension to education, capturing students’ attention and igniting their inquisitiveness. By transforming natural settings such as forests, parks, or urban areas into classrooms, outdoor education cultivates a dynamic and immersive environment for exploration.

This interactive approach enables students to recognise the real-world relevance of lesson in the classroom, fostering greater engagement and motivation to learn. It also makes all round personal development much easier by encouraging students to nurture their physical well-being, emotional intelligence, and social connections. Encouraging physical activity and movement, outdoor learning promotes healthier lifestyles and reduces sedentary behaviour. Additionally, spending time outdoors yields positive effects on mental health, alleviating stress and anxiety and promoting overall well-being.

Furthermore, outdoor education offers so many benefits for educators. Integrating outdoor teaching methodologies revitalises and energises teachers, sparking creativity and inspiring fresh approaches to teaching and learning. Experimenting with diverse teaching methods and adapting lessons to suit outdoor settings fosters professional growth and innovation.

Moreover, outdoor education provides opportunities for teachers to forge deeper connections with their students. Through activities and hands-on learning experiences done together, teachers cultivate stronger bonds and build a sense of community within the classroom. This collaborative approach not only enhances teachers’ job satisfaction but also enriches their understanding of the world as they explore the outdoors alongside their students.

Tips for Successful Outdoor Activities

Crafting effective outdoor education activities demands thoughtful planning and consideration. By designing engaging and impactful experiences in nature, teachers can significantly enhance the learning experience for their students. Here are some valuable suggestions for designing outdoor education activities that maximise adaptability, prioritise comfort, and ensure that it is fit for purpose. These guidelines are aimed at helping teachers to create memorable and successful outdoor learning experiences that both inspire and educate.


Emphasise adaptability

When developing outdoor education activities, it's crucial to prioritise adaptability. This involves creating experiences that can be adjusted to accommodate various learning objectives, age groups, and environmental conditions. By designing activities that are flexible and scalable, educators can respond to different levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities among participants. Moreover, incorporating multiple learning styles and modes of engagement allows individuals to connect with the content in ways that resonate with them personally. By fostering adaptability, outdoor education activities can be customised to meet the unique needs and interests of different groups, ensuring that all participants have an opportunity to learn and thrive.

Ensure comfort

Comfort is a key consideration when planning outdoor education activities. Ensuring that students feel physically and emotionally at ease throughout the experience enhances their overall engagement and enjoyment. This includes providing suitable clothing, footwear, and protective gear to suit the prevailing weather conditions. Additionally, considering the availability of rest areas, shade, and seating options can further enhance participants’ comfort and well-being. When individuals feel comfortable in their environment, they are more likely to fully engage in the learning experience, facilitating better absorption and retention of information.

Select appropriate materials

Choosing the right materials is essential for the success of outdoor education activities. This entails selecting and organising resources, equipment, and materials in a strategic manner to facilitate seamless learning experiences. Factors such as ease of mobility, durability, and accessibility for all participants should be taken into account. For instance, chalk can be a practical choice for writing on outdoor surfaces as it can be easily washed off. Well-planned logistics enable teachers to focus more on teaching and assisting students in connecting with nature. Providing clear instructions and allocating sufficient time for practice and reflection also contribute to the effectiveness of outdoor education activities.




By harnessing the potential of outdoor settings, teachers can establish a vibrant and interactive atmosphere conducive to language learning, cultural appreciation, and general wellness among students. This method, rich in advantages, ultimately empowers them with the abilities and self-assurance needed to succeed in a varied and interconnected global landscape.

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