A Lively Outdoor Classroom
Action-based research project on outdoor education
Client: Nørrebro Area Renewal, BUF (Children and Youth Committee, Copenhagen Municipality)
Role: Workshops, Research and analysis, Writing report
Location: Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark
An increasing number of people are moving to bigger cities, putting a lot of pressure on schools by challenging capacity and spatial availability. To explore possible solutions arki_lab conducted a series of workshops with three local schools, in collaboration with Nørrebro Area Renewal (Områdefornyelse Nørrebro) and BUF (Children and Youth Committee). We explored the possibilities and challenges of introducing outdoor education as an integrated part of daily teaching. The workshops aimed at gathering knowledge, ideas and feedback from the participants about existing forms of outdoor classrooms, as well as developing new types of learning spaces.
The workshops covered a broad range of exercises, including social and spatial analysis of the area, concentrating on ways it could support outdoor education. Other activities included, visiting existing outdoor classroom projects and testing out various outdoor classroom scenarios through prototyping. As the last step of the workshop, all ideas and visions were collected and shared with the teachers to hear their feedback and input.
Outdoor education addresses more than the lack of space in schools. Studies suggest that it enhances student learning outcomes. Students tend to remember what they’ve learned for a longer time through multiple learning methods. Switching from a traditional, interior classroom space to the outdoors has been found widely effective in student’s cognitive development.
This project serves as a learning process for both its organizers and participants. While participants learn about different types of outdoor learning methods and the abundance of their immediate surrounding as a learning platform, the organizers gain local knowledge, enabling them to co-design the most effective outdoor school spaces. Furthermore, this project will hopefully generate political will and interest to support future outdoor education projects.
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