Summer school


With the long school summer holidays fast approaching, Gwendoline Sandow, Science, Outdoor and Forest School Educator at ACS International School Cobham shares ways that parents can help their children continue their learning in a fun and engaging way.

Gwendoline says: ‘Summer can be a time of continuous learning, not through the rigidity of lessons, but through the rich, unstructured experiences that nature offers. Here are some ideas.’

Embrace child-led exploration

The summer holidays are an excellent time for children to take ownership of their learning. Instead of structuring every activity, let your children lead the way. Allow them to decide what interests them and follow their curiosity. If a child loves Lego, bring Lego characters on outdoor trips which can be photographed having mini adventures in the wild. If they enjoy reading, perhaps build a den under a tree where they can read comfortably. This approach helps children feel heard and valued, promoting a sense of independence and confidence.

Foster independence and problem-solving

Outdoor activities provide a myriad of learning opportunities - use walks to encourage problem-solving and knowledge building. For instance, you can use your phones to identify plants. You can also encourage your child(ren) to navigate paths and read maps. Even handling moments of getting lost teaches them how to find solutions, which, in turn will foster independence and resilience.

Promote environmental awareness

Incorporating lessons about the environment can be as simple as packing a snack box without any packaging or discussing the origins of their food. These activities teach children about sustainability and healthy living in a practical, hands-on manner.

Support physical and mental health

Outdoor activities naturally involve physical exercise, which is beneficial for both physical and mental health. Whether it’s a hike, a day at the beach, or a run, these activities release endorphins and provide a sense of achievement.

Allow for different comfort levels

Not all children are comfortable in the same outdoor settings. Some might prefer a beach over a forest, or a garden over a hike. It is important for you to respect these preferences and start from a place where the child feels most at ease. Over time, this comfort can expand to more diverse outdoor experiences.

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