Learning beyond the classroom

What is our Nature School programme and why is it essential for education in the early years?

Getting dirty, climbing trees, collecting bugs, falling over, jumping in muddy puddles and playing outdoors until it was time for dinner. These are all things parents of today recall from their childhoods with fondness.

Not only were these fun times part of a rich childhood, but these experiences were crucial in developing our health and wellbeing, building resilience and fostering wonderings and understandings about our world.

Yet, somewhere along the journey, we lost the original nature school from our childhoods.

So, why is it so important and how do we ensure the next generation doesn’t miss out?


Learning in a natural environment enhances information recall, focus and attention, executive function, fine and gross motor skills, creative problem-solving, and so much more. As the outdoor environment becomes the third teacher, rich and authentic learning opportunities come alive.

Practising trial and error and building social skills by negotiating, sharing and discussing with peers are just some of these invaluable experiences.

Learning outdoors promotes a sense of wonder, imagination and curiosity in ways the classroom can’t. It paves the way for positive feelings about each other, their environment and a sense of ownership and responsibility for our world.

We know that today’s children lack social skills and resilience, and these experiences are fundamental to outdoor learning. Children can practice independence naturally and within a safe space.


By stepping away from their day-to-day environments, children are encouraged to enquire, explore and absorb the feelings and beauty of a natural landscape. It sparks questions about their role in the world and forms connections to other things, people and places.

At Scotch College, we recognise that outdoor learning experiences are essential in the early years. Our Nature School programme offers authentic and provoking experiences; for many of our students, it’s a highlight.

Daniel from Educated by Nature has been and continues to be, a large part of our programme, working alongside our teachers to incorporate nature pedagogies and broaden our educational offering.

With the support from Educated by Nature, our children learn and practice resilience, build self-confidence and develop emotional regulation skills.

Learning outdoors enables our students to connect with their community while carrying endless social and health benefits. Not to mention, they are excited to learn and explore hands-on experiences that don’t exist in a classroom.


Nature School has taken us to the bush, the river and the beach. Our Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Pre-Primary students start with Bush School. Once they enter Year 1 or 2, they’re ready to adventure to our River and Beach School.

Long after their Nature School journey, our students will draw upon these experiences. We know critical thinking, communication, creativity and research skills are key to effective learning at school and beyond, and it all starts with our Nature School programme.

Maria Hodges
Head of Junior School

Learn about our Junior School Book a tour