WISS Today Article

Connect to Learning in a Real-World Context: Outdoor Classroom Day at WISS

If there is something that identifies the WISS way of teaching is its particularity. WISS offers valuable and innovative education that encourages kids to thrive, think, deal with challenges, and resolve problems.   

WISS students explore and learn from our innovative approaches to teaching in many ways. Students in the Early Years are more than familiar with WISS’s Outdoor Learning approach, which is part of WISS’s balanced and nurturing approach to education. Kids love it, and we love it, even more, seeing how they engage with learning. 

WISS Outdoor Classroom Day

Recently we celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day at WISS. An occasion for us to join this festivity and show how outdoor experiences are recurrent in our school, becoming a supportive method in our pedagogical technique.  

Outdoor learning has many benefits, but one of the greatest is that learning is acquired, understood, and applied practically. By making connections, kids realize how science, language, nature, animals, or even math are all linked and happen in the real world. It’s a perfect way to transform abstract concepts into evidence, so theories make more sense to students.  

Students exploring the Adventure Zone at WISS

Outdoor learning has many benefits for kids beacuse students drive their knowledge through exploration, wonder, and play. They are more engaged in learning, empowered to investigate and put their problem-solving skills into practice. Moreover, they develop kindness, leadership, self-esteem, communication skills, and boost their concentration. 

A Joyful Day Outdoors on the WISS Campus  

WISS campus offers more than a million possibilities to hold outdoor activities on its sprawling 18-acre campus. Thanks to the creativity, work, imagination, and dedication of the whole team in  EY, the Outdoor Classroom Day at WISS was an absolute success.   

Students in the EY forest at WISS
Students in the EY forest at WISS

Teachers created lessons giving kids a joyful and fruitful day outside. Check out how our campus was used to engage students in outdoor learning.

In the words of Lisa Kane, PYP Coordinator at WISS, “Being outdoors stimulates the senses, brings balance, and nurtures a love for our earth.  By ‘knocking down’ the classroom walls, we facilitate learning holistically and naturally. More space for movement develops gross motor skills, provides an opportunity for risk analysis, offers problem-solving activities, and enables children to engage with science organically and authentically. When children explore the world around them, a door opens, which leads them to appreciate the wonders of the natural world and inspires them to explore their responsibilities to keeping themselves and the world they live in, healthy.”  

Student and teacher at The Western International School of Shanghai

WISS Outdoor Learning Spaces   

WISS is one of the few schools in Shanghai where learning in natural environments is integrated into the curriculum, especially in the Early Years. Through outdoor activities, kids learn from the real-world context as learning happens outside of the classroom walls.  

Outdoor learning activities bring kids natural connections and a sense of being part of nature that positively impacts academics and personal development. Students acquire values and attitudes for their life, shaping their citizen role and behavior.   

The Early Years building has new outdoor spaces for learning: the “Cub Cove”, a renovated pergola, and planters to dig into gardening activities. These new spaces broaden students’ knowledge by providing new opportunities to explore and interact with the environment.    

New outdoor learning  spaces in the Early Years at WISS
New outdoor learning spaces in the Early Years at WISS
"Cub Cove" a new outdoor learning space in the Early Years
“Cub Cove” new outdoor learning space in the Early Years

Apart from all outdoor activities we organize during the school year, our Early Years students have the chance to experience the Forest School approach to learning every week.   

Forest School at WISS

The Forest School learning approach integrates activities designed for children in natural surroundings to gain social and personal skills for their correct holistic development while also getting to know the environment.