2nd Edition

Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum Theory and Guidelines for Practice

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Following the acclaim for Learning Outside the Classroom in 2012, this latest book more deeply explains how well constructed outdoor learning experiences can benefit children and young people’s academic development and health and wellbeing.

    Outdoor Learning Across the Curriculum outlines the theory and practice to enable preservice and experienced primary and secondary school teachers to systematically incorporate meaningful outdoor learning opportunities into their daily teaching activities, in a range of environments and with diverse groups of students. Six of the chapters are substantially re-worked versions of the 2012 book, two are completely re-imagined, and four are entirely new. Topics for developing learning and teaching outdoors include:

    • Inclusive educational design
    • Learning for sustainability
    • Community-based learning
    • The role of student curiosity and wonder
    • Evidencing learning
    • Developing a whole school approach
    • Place-responsive education
    • Integrating digital technology

    With practical and engaging chapters containing aims, case studies, and guidelines for practice, this timely book provides teachers the tools with which they can integrate outdoor learning into their daily timetable. It will also be a valuable resource to other professions which use the outdoors for educational purposes.

    Chapter 1: Education to address the planet’s big challenges

    Chapter 2: Encouraging students and teachers to explore worldviews, ethics and their own responsibilities

    Chapter 3: Learning across the curriculum

    Chapter 4: Outdoor learning and sustainability

    Chapter 5: Learning through places

    Chapter 6: Harnessing student curiosity and the role of wonder

    Chapter 7: Community-based learning

    Chapter 8: Integrating mobile digital technology

    Chapter 9: Day excursions and residential outdoor education centers

    Chapter 10: Risk management

    Chapter 11: Supervising people outdoors

    Chapter 12: Evidencing learning and developing a whole school approach


    Simon Beames is Professor of Friluftsliv at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo.

    Peter Higgins is Professor of Outdoor, Environmental, and Sustainability Education at the University of Edinburgh.

    Robbie Nicol is Professor of Place-Based Education at the University of Edinburgh.

    Heidi Smith is a Lecturer in Outdoor Learning at the University of Edinburgh.

    Teaching outdoors is both a necessity and a challenge. In Outdoor learning across the curriculum the necessity is underlined by research-based evidence, thus equipping stakeholders arguing for an inclusive pedagogy in the outdoors. The book addresses both overarching issues concerning an inclusive pedagogy with both curriculum based-, adventure- and sustainability-perspectives on the educational process, as well as a modern and critical standpoint on the educational practice today. Moreover, the book can be used as a practical tool in the implementation of outdoor learning, as it includes experience-based and thorough practical advises, e.g. for the use of digital technologies in the outdoors, classroom management and safety issues. We certainly need to continuously develop the aims of the education, but also the pedagogy, and Outdoor learning across the curriculum adds a valuable contribution to this.


    Karen Seierøe Barfod
    Docent, VIA University College, Denmark


    When introduced to the idea of outdoor learning, most teachers understand intuitively that, given the state of the world, it makes good sense. But they also want to know how to do it and to see that it can be done. Most importantly, they need practice integrating outdoor learning into the classroom and school in a comprehensive way, and articulating to themselves and others the significance of this work. This book is simply the best field guide to the theory and practice of outdoor learning that I've ever seen. The authors have carefully built a curriculum for learning that is responsive to the current historical moment and that is based on decades of experience with the craft. This will be my go to book on the theme for the foreseeable future. 


    David Greenwood

    Professor of Environmental and Holistic Education, Lakehead University, Canada


    The Covid pandemic has provided ample motivation for teachers and students to spend as much time out of doors as possible, and the timing of this book could not be better!  The justification for learning outdoors, and learning for the long game of sustainability, is articulated in a clear and inclusive way in this book.  But then it takes it to the next level by providing a roadmap with the logistics of how to get your students out of doors.  This takes outdoor learning from the philosophical to the logistical- something that school-based practitioners who work directly with students rarely see in educational literature.  If you want to get your students away from the screen and into an interdisciplinary classroom without walls, where curiosity and wonder drive learning, this book is for you!

    Tom Drake

    Principal, Crossett Brook Middle School, Vermont, USA


    Clear, insightful and inspiring – this book offers a refreshing and progressive take on outdoor learning and its critical role in the holistic education of future generations of learners. It is a comprehensive handbook which offers useful ideas. Each chapter contains objectives, a case study, and suggested guidelines for practice which educators would appreciate. It is poignantly persuasive in nudging each of us to educate for a socially and environmentally just planet. For me, it is the kind of book that has the potential to inspire and transform lives.

    Susanna Ho

    Lead Outdoor Education Specialist, Ministry of Education, Singapore


    This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to broaden their horizons and gain a deeper understanding of teaching modalities to incorporate outdoor learning experiences into their lessons. Collectively, the authors’ writing style is engaging and thought-provoking, and makes complex topics enjoyable to read and digest. The pearls of wisdom shared in this book will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

    Tonia Gray

    Professor, School of Education, Western Sydney University, Australia


    UNESCO, OECD, and other shapers of education systems are calling for a huge undertaking by nations: the transformation of their education systems; to address future sustainability challenges; to include experiential learning with exposure to realities; to build deeper, knowledgeable connections with issues; and create empathic connection to those affected by global realities resulting in informed action. In answering this call, I strongly suggest you read Outdoor learning across the curriculum to begin the journey and keep it by your side as you rise to the challenge of the undertaking that is so desperately needed.

    Charles Hopkins

    Professor and UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability, York University, Canada

    Especially in times when children, through their education, are continuously seduced to go back to their screens for entertainment and quick answers, the risk of becoming disconnected from the natural world in both urban and rural environments is greater than ever. How to restore biophilia and a sense of place in the Anthropocene? This timely book provides some answers by taking the outdoors as both a starting point and a context for relational forms of learning that can reconnect young people with their local environment and, ultimately, will help heal the Earth.


    Arjen Wals

    Professor of Transformative Learning for Socio-Ecological Sustainability and UNESCO Chair, Wageningen University, The Netherlands / Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway