How shelters in schools can make better use of outdoor space

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Outdoor education has a long and popular history in this country, with the benefits to learning outcomes now formally embedded in the the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and the National Curriculum guidelines.

the quality of learning outside the classroom to maximise its impact on pupils’ achievement, as well as their personal development and wellbeing. It is now recognised as being vital that learning outside is part of school policy, and that it has the support of staff and parents as well as the local community.

The benefits of open-air lessons include better child development, supported mental health and wellbeing, a deeper connection with nature and more inclusive, engaged learning.

At the same time, when primary school pupils play outside, it allows them to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and independence. Children who play outdoors are more likely to engage with others, solve problems and explore the natural environment.

There are also clear benefits for pupils’ physical health and fitness when you view outdoor learning and play as extensions of classroom sessions.

Of course, it can be a challenge for schools to find proper space where students can learn or play outside all year round. But whether you have expansive grounds or a simple courtyard or playground, one solution is a fixed canopy (also referred to as a shelter or awning). These very low-maintenance, sturdy structures represent an extremely worthwhile investment and addition to your school facilities. They’re perfect for primary students keen to explore, discover and be creative.

Ways you can use an outdoor shelter:

  • Break up a lesson: For example, learn the theory behind a science lesson in a lab or classroom, and then put it into practice by running experiments in the shelter.
  • Use as a traditional classroom: You can simply use a shelter to take a class in exactly the same way you would inside.
  • Discussion time: You can remove the need to sit behind desks, and have discussion-based lessons or assessments.
  • As a play area, you can probably afford to give kids children a freer rein to run around and enjoy messier play. Remember, they will be kept under cover all year round, whatever the weather.
  • Add seating, so that the space can be used as an area for reading or story-times. It also makes it easier to use the space to develop key skills including socialisation, speech and language development.

Talk to us

At Kensington Systems, we’ve been fitting school canopies for more than three decades, across the UK. Get in touch today for a chat about how we could help you make the most of your outdoor area with one of our high-quality, innovative shelters, whatever size and shape of space you have available.

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