Rationale for Outdoor Ed

Outdoor education provides opportunities to develop positive relationships with the environment, others and ourselves through interaction with the natural world. These relationships are essential for the wellbeing and sustainability of individuals, society and our environment. Outdoor education engages students in practical and active learning experiences in natural environments and settings typically beyond the school classroom. In these environments, students develop the skills and understandings to move safely and competently while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promoting the sustainable use of these environments.

Outdoor education is uniquely placed to address the general capabilities and cross curriculum priorities of the Australian Curriculum, in particular personal and social capability, critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, Aboriginal perspectives of land and country and sustainability. Outdoor education can be instrumental in the teaching of self reliance, interdependence and leadership, the development of an adventurous spirit, managing personal risks, safe journeys in nature, the value of life-long outdoor recreation for enjoyment, health and well-being, understanding nature through direct experience and for developing deeper human–nature relationships.

Any learning experience that can be undertaken in the outdoors or in a natural setting can contribute positively to a range of learning areas. The unique and specific outcomes that outdoor education can contribute to a student’s education include:

    • Providing direct personal contact with nature (the outdoors) – in ways that promote enjoyment of outdoor activity and nature. Such enjoyment can be the basis for ongoing outdoor recreation and nature experiences through their lifespan, supporting personal health and wellbeing and providing the foundations for ecological literacy.
    • Enabling perspectives on contemporary living and human to nature relationships. Through the provision of outdoor experiences students are provided with opportunities to reflect on healthy alternatives for everyday living and lay vital foundations for sustainability and stewardship into the future.
    • Developing competence and safety management in the Australian outdoors – for all Australians – and being especially relevant for those in urban settings or born overseas. This outcome includes how outdoor education can teach students to assess risk and make judgements about their management of it.
    • Enhancing well-being through guided reflection on involvement in group and individual activities that are challenging and adventurous.
    • Developing essential personal and social capabilities such as communication, resilience, self-confidence, leadership, teamwork, goal setting, personal autonomy and initiative