AIS International school: Incorporating outdoor learning as part of their unique educational approach
In an interview with AIS International School this month they told us all about their educational philosophy of integrating the outdoors into the learning. We at Spain Life Exclusive found this concept really interesting and
In an interview with AIS International School this month they told us all about their educational philosophy of integrating the outdoors into the learning. We at Spain Life Exclusive found this concept really interesting and also very current. We asked them in detail about this unique approach to educating and what benefits it has for their students and their education.
The essence of education today is how we are all connected to the environment. Combining learning with the outdoors provides a real experience of inter-connectedness. This is very relevant in today’s uncertain world.
Why learning outdoors is so important
Connecting with the outdoors creates new and inspiring ways to learn. Why read about geometry from a book when you can find leaves, beehives, succulents, tree stumps and an array of natural things that have geometric shapes?
Traditional school timetables can mean that children are often sat in one place for long periods, something that can be regarded as inhibitive to learning. Children both enjoy and need to move around, their mind and body benefit from being stimulated by their surroundings.
What can children learn in the AIS gardens?
At AIS they have an allotment where the children grow vegetables and fruit, olive and fruit trees, but it’s much more than that too. Here the students learn about how plants grow, what happens when natural products break down through decomposition, what wildlife is around at different times of the year and what effects they have on plant life.
Every classroom is connected directly to the outdoors, not only that but the teachers see that the children are happy outdoors, the feeling is like that you would find in the hustle and bustle of a small village. At AIS, the children find the gardens and outdoor area with its nooks and crannies, a place where they feel comfortable and like “at home”. With the school being situated between the mountains and the sea, there’s no end of stimulation for them to learn from. They get to witness the changing seasons, the differing weather conditions, the difference between coastal areas and mountainous areas and more.
AIS children spend their breaks outdoors in the fresh air
Teaching staff at AIS don’t need to prompt the students to go outside at break-time, all break-times are spent outside of the classroom in the fresh air. AIS is a mobile free school so there are no phones, this means that they are naturally engaging more with each other and their surroundings.
Outings at AIS, both within class time and outside of that, are often spent in nature, taking walks in the beautiful countryside around the school, learning about the plant and animal life in the school grounds and the more adventurous holidays such as rafting, skiing and climbing trips.
How practical is learning outdoors, particularly in the winter?
On the Costa Blanca, the weather is such that it is possible to spend around 99% of school days outside, for some part of the day at least. It’s rarely too cold or too wet to venture out so every opportunity is taken to take full advantage of that. That’s a wonderful amount of fresh air and a good dose of time spent in nature in every school week.
What are the benefits of learning outdoors?
Being in nature makes you appreciate both the environment around you and the environment in general. Spending time in the great outdoors will lead children to have a level of respect for their natural surroundings so they’re more likely to go on as adults to take care of our beautiful planet.
With the AIS educational approach, spending more time learning outdoors is also incredibly beneficial to the health of the students too. The children get a good, healthy dose of vitamin D each day, they get the natural endorphins from being out in the sunshine and having lots of space to move around, all great for their mental health and wellbeing, not forgetting to mention the physical health benefits of simply moving about more. Studies show that children who are outside more, will generally go on to be more active as adults.
If you’re looking for a new school for your child on the Costa Blanca, get in touch with the team at AIS to find out more about them and the AIS educational approach: