Outdoor education provides a unique alternative for Australian students to undertake learning opportunities in a non-traditional setting, where they can apply themselves in different contexts. The Outdoor Education Group choose the natural world because it allows us to deliver powerful educational outcomes. By focusing on student outcomes, our program design embraces student-centred learning and allows you to identify the impact and objectives most suited to your school's needs.
In 2017, a report by Dell estimated 85% of jobs available in 2030 haven't yet been invented. Evolving business needs, advances in technology and the climate crisis are among other factors redefining what are considered to be valuable skills for the future. How can educators prepare students for what does not yet exist?
In a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, teachers, students and executives listed problem-solving as the most crucial skill for students' future. Teamwork came in second, followed by communication, critical thinking and leadership.
Schools can look to outdoor education professionals to support the development of the vital and transferable skills their students require. While students can learn these skills in the classroom, they are exercised, enhanced and refined through outdoor education. Taking learning beyond the classroom equips learners with the competencies they need to shape their own lives and contribute to a contemporary workplace.
Effective problem-solving skills are essential for academic and social success and allow young people to make healthy decisions for themselves. When young people solve problems independently, they will be happier, more confident and more independent; they will not feel frustrated or disheartened by their inefficiency.
Our programs drive outcomes focusing on analytical skills, innovative and critical thinking, a lateral mindset, adaptability and flexibility, initiative, resilience, decision-making and time-management.
The natural world is alive with learning opportunities. Outdoor learning experiences allow students of all ages to experience risk and adventure at a developmentally appropriate pace. Students experience hands-on learning and engage in authentic problem-solving in ways they cannot experience with the same depth in traditional classroom learning. Outdoor learning experiences provide immediate feedback, meaning students can quickly identify mistakes, make changes and discover how failures can lead to new understandings.
Communication skills are among the most crucial skills for students in today's world. At all levels of education and beyond, students must be able to communicate effectively. Students with effective communication skills are more likely to contribute to class discussions and ultimately engage more with their school experience.
Our programs provide outcomes focusing on verbal, non-verbal and visual communication, active listening, emotional control, adaptability and interpersonal skills.
At camp, students have the freedom to be themselves without the pressures of the school environment or the constraints of who they may be at home; they socialise with one another from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep. As they are generally required to unplug from electronics, young people at camp spend more time in intentional, directed conversation. Through purposefully-designed outdoor activities, young people exercise their active listening and adaptive communication skills.
Unsurprisingly, getting along and engaging with others is vital for many things in life; it is a core social skill. Young people need to learn how to give and take, share, take turns, play to their strengths and draw in others. Learning to collaborate and work together as part of a team allows students to learn a skill vital for success inside and outside the classroom.
Our programs heighten skills in communication, conflict resolution, rapport-building, persuasion, and organisational and planning outcomes.
Learning collaboration skills early on in life helps young people prepare for situations where they might work on a class project with other students or even in a future career trying to solve a problem with co-workers.
Outdoor education provides rich personal and social development opportunities through carefully structured group activities in challenging situations. Working together in the classroom looks very different from building a raft and setting up a tent for the night. In this environment, students quickly understand their success means the success of their group and become far more aware of how to support those around them.
Social connection is critical to physical and mental wellbeing in people of all ages. For young people, in particular, social connection creates a sense of belonging in their school community; it is a feeling of being accepted and appreciated for their best qualities. In an educational context, neuroscientific research reveals a sense of belonging has a profound effect on the knowledge and skills students can learn, retain, and apply.
Our outdoor education programs deliver outcomes of social responsibility, compassion, relationship management, cooperation, flexibility, self-belief, respect and communal living.
The outdoor setting has been described as a powerful medium for exploring the nature of community with small groups living intentionally, sharing responsibilities and celebrating victories.
Sharing a new and exciting adventure in the outdoors enhances friendship and camaraderie among students.
As they grow, young people encounter increasing stresses and obstacles. To thrive, young people must develop strengths, acquire skills to cope, recover from hardships, and be prepared for future challenges; they need to be resilient.
Our programs address outcomes centring around goal setting, resilience, positive attitudes, independence, self-awareness and self-management.
In accepting challenges and stepping outside their comfort zones, students develop resilience and coping strategies, equipping them with the skills needed to confront the obstacles they are bound to face in life. When accepting challenges in the outdoors through a set of considered activities, students are permitted to constructively explore and ask questions in an encouraging environment, supported by experienced facilitators.
We live in a world in which leaders are capable of accomplishing great things. Students need to experience leadership opportunities during their schooling and learn the art of building relationships within teams. Leadership skills allow young people to understand they have the ability to make things happen. Exercising leadership skills instils confidence and helps young people solve problems creatively and work collaboratively with others.
Our programs foster outcomes around social influence, fellowship, self and social management, confidence, goal setting, collaboration and curiosity.
Leadership is something young people develop through their experiences. Outdoor education programs enhance student leadership and allow them to practice and hone their skills in a supportive learning environment. Through varied group activities, each student is provided with a chance to shine and explore just what leadership means to them. Students begin to understand their strengths, learn the value of persevering, remain calm under pressure and know when to ask for help.
When students take on responsibility, they readily accept the outcome of their choices without holding anybody else accountable by reflecting on their beliefs, ideas, goals, mistakes and achievements. Responsibility requires young people to explore a response proportional to a problem, adapting to obstacles as they arise.
Our programs enhance resilience, self-worth, decision-making, honesty, respect, a sense of fairness, accountability, and courage.
Outdoor education offers unique opportunities for increased responsibility young people may not have elsewhere in their lives and carry with them inherent feelings of maturity and self-belief. On program, young people make decisions for themselves in unfamiliar environments and face new consequences and rewards, for example, what to wear, what to eat, and how they contribute to their group. Naturally, young people will learn and grow from their successes and mistakes and become more confident in tackling future obstacles. Providing young people with opportunities to exercise responsibility gives them purpose and sets them up for success later in life.
Empathy is a powerful tool; it is a key element of emotional intelligence, linking oneself and others. Those who have empathy better understand the perspectives, needs, and intentions of others and can work through difficult moments from a position of strength. Empathetic students are more cooperative in class, have better relationships with their teachers and are more engaged in school. Furthermore, research has shown empathy makes people better professionals.
Our programs deliver outcomes harnessing compassion, communication, positive social growth, curiosity and social and emotional awareness.
When students are tired, sore, and uncomfortable, the lessons learnt often teach them more about personal strength and empathy than any classroom or textbook. After a day of adventure, sitting around the campfire, we encourage reflection. Students listen to and share their experiences of the day, allowing them to hear their peers' perspectives on it and compare them with their own. Importantly, through outdoor education, students are more likely to nurture the compassion and empathy needed to care for natural spaces.
Connecting young people to the natural world is more vital than ever. Environmental literacy allows young people to understand how their actions affect the environment, builds the knowledge necessary to address complex ecological issues, and imparts practical ways to keep our environment flourishing for the future.
Our outdoor education programs aim to enhance outcomes around environmental literacy and sustainable practices, creativity, innovative and critical thinking, foresight, negotiation, collaboration, community projects and an investigative mind.
To prepare our young people for a complex world, they need environmental connection as a foundation upon which to make choices for their future. Connecting young people to the natural world through outdoor education helps develop and expand their critical thinking skills, prepares them for citizenship and encourages them to share their voices and make a positive difference in their schools and communities.
Trust allows young people to feel part of a relationship or group, with a shared purpose and a willingness to depend on each other – this is vital in the classroom and in a work environment. Students who trust those around them will display more positive behaviour and take on more responsibility.
Our programs promote social cohesion, social security, conflict resolution, positive attitudes, acceptance and accountability outcomes.
Learning to trust and how to navigate social interactions takes practice. Our programs provide young people with endless opportunities to exercise and build trust – not only in their peers but in themselves too. Reading a map or getting into a harness can feel overwhelming. However, during our programs, students understand they can lean on their peers for help; they are encouraged to recognise and trust their peers' abilities and support one another.
Wellbeing is a multi-faceted concept involving much more than just physical health. It's a combination of a person's emotional, mental and social health and it also reflects how they feel about themselves and their life in general. Overall, wellbeing enhances motivation, decreases disciplinary problems, increases academic achievement and improves satisfaction.
Our programs address physical and mental wellbeing and health, positive attitudes, active contribution, focus and a strong sense of identity.
The physical and mental health benefits of simply being in the natural world are increasingly understood and accepted by governments locally and around the world. Exposing young people to natural environments reduces stress and increases wellbeing. Outdoor education is key to supporting young peoples' mental health. In fact, The World Health Organisation found young people raised with exposure to green space are as much as 55% less likely to develop mental health problems such as substance abuse, stress-related illnesses and eating disorders.
Positive education has been defined as "education for both traditional skills and for happiness;" strengthening traditional skills while also fostering positive character strength and enhancing student wellbeing and happiness.
Our programs allow for the development of a growth mindset and character strengths, improved mental health, gratitude, engagement, compassion and automaticity outcomes.
Today, our young people are faced with an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety, with 38% of Australians aged 13 – 17 years reporting they feel high or very high levels of distress. Imparting mindfulness techniques through positive education has been shown to calm the mind and body, reducing the negative effects of stress and increasing a students' ability to stay engaged, which helps them stay on track academically. Through positive education and mindfulness, students have fewer potential obstacles standing in the way of their progress.
The Learning and Development Team