Four Things to Look for in an Outdoor Classroom

What makes a good place for an outdoor classroom? What do you need to make it successful? Below we talk through 4 things to look for when you are considering spaces to your as outdoor classrooms. They are important factors that when combined create some amazing environments for students to learn. Location As the saying goes “location, location, location”. This is the same for teaching spaces. Does the area have good access so all students can get there? Is the area right next to another class indoors? Does this area echo and is it going to cause disruption to other […]

Teaching Outdoors Made Easier With These 5 Items Under $100

Here at Orterra, we are massive advocates for teaching outdoors. The benefits of teaching outdoors are amazing for children. Here, we will give a brief discussion of some of the benefits of teaching outside. While looking at 5 items under $100 that might make things easier for you.   The Benefits Of Teaching Outdoors   There are strong links between spending time outdoors and personal health. Children that are taught outdoors have increased academic performance, attention spans, engagement, and enthusiasm during classes. It builds on their sensory stimulation, social skills, movement, physical activity, teamwork, and confidence. All while growing their […]

Why is Seating so Important in a Design?

One of my favourite all-time design quotes is by a man called William H Whyte. He did a famous study on public spaces back in the 1970s that looked at how people use space. The best quote out of the whole study is “People tend to sit where there are places to sit” Now the beauty of this statement is in the simplicity of the idea. You sit where there are seats. Now you might be thinking well that’s obvious and why are you telling me? When it comes to designing places, public places, parks, schools, your garden. The importance […]

Three Things to Think about when Building Around Trees

Mature trees have so many benefits we have talked about before including shade, habitat, and character to name a few. When you are building or renovating it is important to keep as many trees as possible. Today we are going to talk about three things you need to be aware of when building around trees. 1. Damaging the Trees Roots A tree’s roots are where they get all of the water and nutrients from. They have a network of roots that can extend way beyond the canopy of a tree and not only provide food but support for the healthy […]

How to Start a Loose Parts Play Area At Your School?

Do you want to bring in loose parts play to your school but are unsure about how to do it? What do you need? Where do you go to get items for children to play with? What about the mess? Do they need more supervision? Today, we are going to break this down into a few steps you can take and ways to get everyone on board. For loose parts play to be successful in a school, all staff need to understand what it is and how it works. Some teachers know a lot about loose parts play, others may […]

Why is loose parts play important?

child playing loose parts play

Loose parts play is becoming a popular term when talking about children and play. The benefits of loose parts play to children’s development include imagination, creativity, physical health, fine and gross motor skills, behaviour, cooperation, communication, teamwork, and concentration. But what is loose parts play? Loose parts play is the self-guided play of a child using materials to express creativity through play. These variable materials are transformed and manipulated by children so they can experiment and create through play. So, it is children playing with a variety of materials how they want and using them how they want. The key […]

How to pick the best plants for your play space?

Plants are the most important element in any nature play space. Why? Because if you don’t have plants in your nature play space you are missing the main feature of any nature play space. People are drawn to environments with planting. The intricacies of plants and their features have an extremely high play value for children. They help make a space a place. In saying this, not every plant is suited to be in a play space. As I always say right plant right place. There are some rules to follow when thinking about what plants to use. Rule 1 […]

3 Reasons Teachers Don’t Teach Outdoors

There is a saying amongst outdoor educators that there is no bad weather to teach in. Living in Queensland our climate is such that teachers should be able to teach outdoors most of the year-round. So, what is stopping them? After working with schools and kindergartens for many years. My discussions with teachers have led me to find three main arguments which come up time and time again. These are the main reasons teachers are not using teaching outdoors. 1) “We have nowhere to do it”. Now I would say that all schools have places teachers can take students. However, […]

Why Is Nature Play Important?

Children Walking through Woods

Through the combination of natural environments and unstructured play, a child’s development can be enhanced. How? Unstructured play affects the way in which a child’s brain develops. What is unstructured play? While there is no dictionary definition it is commonly defined as “an unsupervised activity which children partake without adult interference”. The play is run, directed, and changed by the children playing without adult interference. It can take a simple form or something much more complex which can last for days. Unstructured play can have so many positive outcomes for our children. There is an increase in the development of […]