Traditional school systems often worry more about test scores than teaching children skills they will need in everyday life. Although basic subjects such as math, English and reading are important, not all children can learn in a structured sit-down environment. For instance, children with ADD and ADHD need more than six hours a day sitting in a chair listening to a teacher tell them what they will need to know on the next test.
ADD & ADHD Learning
It is nearly impossible for ADD and ADHD children to sit very long before their minds begin to wander in a totally different direction. Not because they can’t do the work, but because they need more hands-on interactive learning. One way to teach adults and kids in a new and exciting way is with outdoor education and other adventure education ideas.
On the plus side, many schools are incorporating stations or centers into the older classrooms now. Before, only kindergarten and preschool settings were equipped with these. By keeping ADD and ADHD children moving and switching centers every 10 to 15 minutes or so, they will have less time to let their mind wander onto other things and can spend more time learning.
ADD and ADHD learning is quite a bit different than it is for children and adults who do not have the disability. For instance, giving a paper filled from top to bottom with instructions, words, and other problems to an ADD or ADHD person will look like a mixed up mess to them while someone without the disorder will be able to focus on what needs to be done. While breaking these papers down into thirds by folding the paper or highlighting one direction at time could be of great benefit, it would be best to get them out of the classroom and into the outdoor learning experience.
Step into Outdoor Learning
Science is one subject that could be taken outdoors while doing math on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk could be another option. Science books often have a picture of a flower, tree or even a pine cone describing its parts. Why not have some outdoor learning by using a real flower, tree or pine cone? While these are basic steps that any teacher could do, the following outdoor education ideas could be of benefit for parents, children or adults who want to take the next step into outdoor learning.
These are only a couple outdoor education ideas. Look for more opportunities near you to enhance your child’s learning experience.
Mineralogy Expeditions. Located in Oxford County, Maine, the Maine Mineralogy Expeditions gives guided tours into the mineral mines. This outdoor learning experience will not only teach children about rocks, mines, layers of earth, dirt, and the history of mining, but will show them how hard work pays off as they begin to dig for their own minerals to take home. With different types of minerals available to find, the whole family will learn to identify each type and discover a whole new world of science they would never have experienced in the classroom. For more information, call 800-533-3607.
Mahoosuc Guide Service. Step back into a time when cars, cell phones, and computers had never been invented. The folks at Mahoosuc make nearly all of the equipment visitors will be using as they step aboard a dog sled and sleigh away into the history of the county. Learn how pioneers lived together with the wilderness, discover how man and dog survived together, visit the lakes, learn the rivers and its currents and study the history of the era. Again, many of these things can be taught in a classroom setting, but there is a bigger impact on each individual by learning it in an outdoor environment. During different times of the year, skiing, mushing, canoeing and other learning experiences are available. For more information, call 207-824-2073.
Outdoor Education Tips
When time does not permit long trips, talk to your child’s school and take a day trip to an outdoor educational destination. Many school systems allow a child to take education field trips with family and not be counted absent as long as it is planned and cleared with the school in advance. These are great ways to keep your child learning and on the move.
Every state has outdoor learning possibilities if you only look. Don’t make yourself believe that a classroom seat is the only place a child gets an education. He will learn by everything around him, everything he touches, and by getting involved, which will enhance his self-worth. And he will begin to believe he can do anything he sets his mind to.