Embracing Nature and Outdoor Education for Holistic Development


31 May 2024

As parents, we all want the best for our children — a nurturing environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive. And what better way to foster their development than through the wonders of learning through play in the great outdoors?

Imagine a future where every child has access to enriching outdoor education. Well, that future is closer than you think. In a move towards encouraging outdoor experiences, the Singaporean government has set its sights on establishing three new campsites by 2032

However, the good news is there is no need to wait until your child is old enough for larger-scale land and sea expeditions — outdoor play can begin right from their early years. This lays the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of nature and holistic development. 

Here are five skills outdoor learning teaches, surpassing what the classroom alone can offer.

Social Skills

Through collaborative play and exploration, children learn the art of communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution. These essential life skills are the building blocks of strong relationships, effective collaboration, and innovative problem-solving — all crucial for thriving in various aspects of life, both personally and professionally. Interestingly, research has shown that strong social skills development can even benefit shy children or those with limited vocabulary, as they are more likely to be well-liked by their peers.

Communication Skills

In an outdoor environment, communication skills flourish as children engage in interactive play and exploration. Through verbal exchanges, gestures, and non-verbal cues, they learn to express themselves clearly and effectively. Whether collaborating on a nature-inspired project or navigating a group challenge, children learn the importance of clear and respectful communication in achieving shared goals. 

Problem-solving Skills

Every rock, stick, and puddle presents a new puzzle waiting to be solved. By encouraging children to tackle challenges independently outdoors, educators cultivate their problem-solving abilities and resilience by allowing children to think outside the box, explore diverse possibilities, and devise innovative solutions to challenges. Unlike the structured setting of a classroom, where activities often follow predetermined guidelines, outdoor play offers an environment of open-ended exploration.

Critical Thinking Skills

Early childhood is a critical stage in a child’s cognitive stimulation, laying the groundwork for future academic success. Traditional classrooms may provide valuable knowledge, but it is the hands-on activities and sensory-rich environments of outdoor education that truly ignite a child’s sense of wonder and curiosity. As children interact with the natural world, they are prompted to ask questions, make observations, and draw connections — key components of critical thinking.

Teamwork Skills

Working as a team in the great outdoors encourages children to leverage each other’s strengths, problem-solve creatively, and overcome obstacles together. They learn to listen to each other’s ideas, compromise when necessary, and celebrate their collective achievements. These experiences not only create a sense of camaraderie but also instil valuable lessons about the importance of collaboration and teamwork.

The Power of Outdoor Learning

At NTUC First Campus (NFC), we are committed to providing children with the best possible start in life. That is why we launched Outdoor School Singapore — to offer educational experiences that broaden children’s horizons beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, immersing them in the wonders of the natural world. 

Our range of holiday camps is categorised into difficulty levels to ensure every child, regardless of their age or skill level, can find the perfect adventure tailored to their abilities and interests. 

Map your child’s adventure here.

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