You may have come across the “Daily Mile” – it is a project based around the notion that interrupting the school day in order to take pupils out on a walk or run has a very positive outcome.
While one might assume that losing time from normal classroom lessons to go out for a walk might reduce the level of teaching, it appears that the opposite happens – and this is supported by analyses by the DFE and others.
Analyses of the project have been continuing since 2010, and most of the schools that take up the notion of interrupting work for a walk continue to report improved teaching and learning.
The only problem seems to be that after doing the same walk, or the same sort of walk, for a while, the improvement in learning diminishes over time – although the improvement to the pupils’ physical health continues.
The reason for this is probably due to the impact on learning of the changing environment. As research from Yale University found, it is the change of environment that stimulates additional brain activity, meaning that more learning takes place in new or changed environments.
That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with The Daily Mile idea, but rather that if the walk can be varied and take in different places, then it brings two benefits: improving the pupils’ health and improving the retention of whatever is learned during the walk.
One of the best ways of organising this approach is to use the school minibus – especially if there are times of the day when it is standing idle in the school. A school party goes out to a previously unexplored location nearby, the pupils walk, and as they walk they observe or discuss matters of educational interest.
And because of the extra brain activity that results from being in an unusual place, more of this knowledge is retained.
Indeed so beneficial is this approach that some schools are now starting to consider leasing a second minibus in order to facilitate such activities – as well as use the minibus for regular school visits and events.
There is more about the research into the benefits that are proven to come from learning outside on the learning outside website.
And if you are interested in leasing a minibus or upgrading a minibus to increase the learning outside opportunities your school can offer you will find this website of help.
Alternatively, you can get in touch by calling the Minibus Team on 01753 859944 or by dropping us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll do our best to help!