10 March, 2023

At Northbridge we believe that being outdoors and active is a fundamental part of growing up

At Northbridge we believe that Being outdoors and active is a fundamental part of growing up-At Northbridge we believe that Being outdoors and active is a fundamental part of growing up-IMG_20230217_084248
At Northbridge we believe that being outdoors and active is a fundamental part of growing up

Daragh Mangan
Grade 3 Teacher

When we look back on our own childhood, like the ones children at Northbridge International School Cambodia are currently enjoying, what are the experiences that we remember most fondly?

Many people will remember climbing trees and playing games of tag with their friends. Others will happily reminisce about playing endless games of football outside their family home. For some, their fondest recollections will be of racing around their local area on bicycles with other children from their neighborhood.

What do these memories all have in common? A key element of each of these experiences is that they all take place outdoors. 

Being outdoors and active is a fundamental part of growing up and living a healthy and fulfilled life. Children, young people, and adults all benefit from having the chance to spend time relaxing, playing, and learning outside. Outdoor learning engages us in so many different ways.

It engages our emotions by offering us many different experiences, and grounding us in the present moment; our heads by allowing us to think creatively and offering an endless variety of activities and games; and our senses by allowing us to feel the physical world around us, smell the bounty of nature, and hear the wonderful variety of sounds that exist in our local community. 

Northbridge is situated on 20 hectares of beautiful greenspace in the heart of Phnom Penh. In a city that doesn’t have a lot of parks, our school offers students a unique educational experience in Cambodia.

If you walk around our campus on any given day, you will see groups of students taking a stroll with their friends, playing in the playground, battling it out in various sporting activities on our fields, or simply chilling out and relaxing under any of the hundreds of mature, towering trees that are dotted around the grounds. 

At Northbridge, we don’t just use our outdoor space for recreational activities. Outdoor learning is also a vital element of our curriculum, and is incorporated into many of the Units of Inquiry that our students study.

When learning about health and wellbeing students may be asked to go outside and invent a new playground game that will improve cardiovascular fitness. If a class is learning about adaptation, children might play the role of biologists, and explore the campus in order to find plants and animals that have developed adaptations which help them to survive.

Students who are studying environmentalism and sustainability may use our outdoor space to grow fruits and vegetables which they can then harvest and cook themselves.

The opportunities afforded to us by having such a large and diverse outdoor space mean that classes can experience a range of learning opportunities that are only possible at Northbridge.

Studies have consistently demonstrated that outdoor learning experiences improve children’s physical and mental wellbeing, increases their academic attainment, and enhances their understanding of nature.

At Northbridge, we recognize outdoor learning as a fundamental part of a child’s development, and one which not only benefits them, but also benefits the community in which they live.

In the words of the biologist and natural historian David Attenborough, “If children don’t grow up knowing about nature and appreciating it, they will not understand it. And if they don’t understand it, they won’t protect it. And if they don’t protect it, who will?”