Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 - 15:00
Learning outside the classroom

There’s more to outdoor sport and recreation than just the physical benefits; experiences outside the classroom can improve learning and cultivate personal, social, and emotional development.

The physical benefits of sport and recreational activities, such as reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, are widely known1. However, research is increasingly highlighting the social benefits of physical activity, including personal growth and social integration, as well as the ability to connect and engage effectively with peers. Importantly, experiences outside the classroom in a diverse environment, are integral to developing these skills.

There is substantial data available that supports the benefits of learning outside the classroom in natural environments. The benefits range from enhancing students’ understanding, creativity and language development, to significantly improving pupils’ personal, social, and emotional development2. A study conducted in Australia found that hands-on contact with nature in primary school can play a significant role in cultivating positive mental health and wellbeing. Further, the benefits of outdoor experiences in secondary school can influence behavioural and lifestyle choices, which has the potential to positively impact the wider community3.

Participation in outdoor learning is also proven to promote improved academic performance and problem solving. A study conducted in the United States found that secondary students who had undertaken outdoor learning scored higher in 72% of academic assessments including reading, science, maths, higher attendance rates and grade point averages, compared to students who hadn’t. Similarly, participating in outdoor learning programs helps students to develop critical thinking skills and enables them to become real-world problem solvers4.

As well as contributing to increased levels of trust and self-confidence, learning outside the classroom can impact students’ future economic wellbeing and prepare them for the next stage of their lives5. Outdoor activities facilitate opportunities to work together towards shared aims, and to develop skills such as leadership, teamwork, and effective communication.

1 Hulteen, R.M., Smith, J.J., Morgan, P.J., Barnett, L.M., Hallal, P.C., Colyvas, K., and Lubans, D.R. (2017), Global participation in sport and leisure-time physical activities: A systematic review and meta-analysis

2 Slee, V., Allam, J., and Bell, R. (2017), Schools transition outdoor project

3 Dillon, J. and Dickie, I. (2012), Learning in the natural environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers

4 Rickinson, M., Dillon, J., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M.Y., Sanders, D., and Benefield, P. (2004), A review of research on outdoor learning

5 Ofsted (2008), Learning outside the classroom: How far should you go?

The Office of Sport difference

The Office of Sport’s 11 Sport and Recreation Centres are in scenic locations across NSW. Offering bush, river, beach or alpine settings - and sometimes a mix of both – they provide the ideal environment to support learning while having fun in beautiful, natural surrounds.

Programs are designed to positively impact student learning through exciting and rewarding challenges, with the aim to:

  • Inspire personal growth and focus
  • Build resilience
  • Encourage teamwork and cohesion
  • Instil confidence and trust
  • Enhance morale
  • Create a sense of accomplishment
  • Promote problem-solving and decision-making
  • Boost communication and leadership

All-inclusive packages

A diverse range of programs are available to boost school curriculum objectives and students’ personal development. Each of the 11 Sport and Recreation Centres offer unique features specific to their location, and include:

  • State-of-the-art facilities
  • Modern accommodation
  • Nutritious catering
  • Specialist programs
  • Some programs are age and subject specific; all can be tailored to meet curriculum objectives and help students realise their potential.


It’s easy for teachers to relax and have fun at camp. Enjoy a streamlined online application process as well as plenty of teacher comforts at camp:

  • Easy online student registration
  • Fully-compliant risk assessment
  • Comfortable teacher accommodation
  • Separate dining area
  • Tailored programs
  • Opportunity to join in
  • Teacher-only time

Teachers can rest assured that students are in safe hands at an Office of Sport camp, with all activities supervised by fully qualified program staff, experienced in delivering superior outdoor learning programs.

To discuss a program or venue that suits your needs, contact the Office of Sport on 13 13 02. They can also tailor any program to suit your school’s needs.