Learning outdoors has been proven to be highly engaging for students. Students who take part in outdoor learning are happier, more focused and better behaved. It provides a rich setting for lessons promoting reflection on the signs of Allah in the aim of increasing children’s conscious Iman and Love of Allah. Indeed, the Quran tells us:
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ (20) وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
[On earth there are signs for those with sure faith and in yourselves too, do you not see] [Adhariyat: 20-21]
The experience is also highly satisfactory and motivating for teachers; seeing their students’ minds and thoughts maturing and buzzing with creativity.
To ensure a pleasant experience, it is important to bear in mind some safety precautions in order to safeguard children against any potential harm. Below are a few safeguarding procedures:
- Make sure there is a good adult-pupil ratio.
- There must be trained first aiders, a first aid kit must be carried. Medication for specific children must be taken with clear pupil information.
- Have high vis vests for all adults and children
- All adults on the trip to have a mobile phone, they can use their own phones if there are no school mobiles; a list of all numbers issued to adults on the trip, on the day, and confidentially disposed of at the end of the day. Data protection must be adhered to.
- Make sure you have landline as well as mobile phone number contacts for parents.
- Make sure the staff and volunteers in the Madrassah and on the trip know what actions to take should there be an emergency. The information they need and actions they should take should be written down.
- Plan alternative transport routes. Even if you are on a coach know at least 2 routes to and from your venue. Have more than one tube/train route planned. Know which bus numbers you could take if there was a problem.
All adults involved in making an Outdoor Learning possible have responsibility to the safety of the children. This includes the Madrassah or Supplementary School’s manager or headteacher, the visit leader, the visit leader assistant and the parents.
It is a good practice to have a policy in place that highlights the safeguarding requirements and procedures so that all staff and parent helpers are aware of them. You can obtain a ‘Keeping Children Safe When Learning Outdoors’ policy and other policies through Mizan accreditation. To learn more about this topic and similar topics enrol on Madrassah management training programme.
Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel http://oeapng.info/