Engaging Primary Schools in the Outdoors

Miss Rachel McMurtrie1
1St Martin de Porres Primary School, Laverton, Australia



Children need a variety of opportunities to learn, grow and develop.  In modern society, time and space for children to experience learning in the outdoors is limited once they reach Primary School.  Including outdoor learning programs and opportunities in Primary Schools allows children and adults opportunities to make connections to nature, self and others through self directed play, structured lessons and camp programs.

This presentation will include:

  • How schools in inner suburban Melbourne have developed Outdoor Education programs that engage teachers, parents and students with the outdoors.
  • How the outdoors can be linked to curriculum and learning opportunities and used as an extension of the classroom.
  • How we as Outdoor Educators can connect, engage and build confidence in teachers, parents and students in the outdoors.

The benefits and evidence discussed will include:

  • Connections to curriculum
  • Development of risk management and assessment skills
  • Building connections to local communities and environments
  • Development of social skills
  • Overall wellbeing for teachers and students

Rachel McMurtrie has been a primary school teacher for over 10 years. She grew up on a farm in Central West NSW where she spent most of her time exploring the outdoors. Rachel studied a Bachelor of Education: Outdoor Education at Victoria University and went on to teach in a variety of Primary schools. She worked as the Outdoor Education Leader at St Peter Chanel Primary School organising school camps and developing an Outdoor Learning program that includes a P-6 camp program, Learning in Nature program and supporting teachers to engage students in excursions to natural spaces including a variety of National parks. Rachel is currently developing a new Outdoor Education program at St Martin de Porres Primary School. She presented at GTAVs STEM in the Outdoors conference with Outdoors Victoria in 2017, NOEC 2018 and Vic Outdoors Conference 2018.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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