Col·legi Sant Roc - Alcoi (Spain)

  • Analysis of outdoor education in Spanish schools


    We can divide Spain into two very differentiated groups. Depending on whether you are in the north or in the south you will have more contact with nature or not, although this does not mean that you will have it if you are in the north.

    The fact that the Spanish school remains very aligned with the traditional school that works mostly in the classroom and the lack of nearby natural spaces in medium or large-sized cities makes it very difficult to implement. Even so, the educational innovation that is being introduced in recent years is favoring the inclusion of awareness projects related to nature and that develop final products in which students interact with the natural environment.

    1. Laws and school curriculums

    a) Safety standards in school playgrounds

    Safety standards in school yards are very strict. In addition, and due to problems with families, we have become much more cautious and have applied measures above the standards to avoid most dangerous situations. The fact of being a really large school (over 1400 students) makes us have a large number of complaints, some justified, but the vast majority due to differences of opinion in the concept of education or safety in school spaces.

    b) Elementary school curriculum:

    The curriculum mentions environmental education, but it does so in a very vague way. That is why depending on the center we can find schools that work hard in this regard or others that hardly mention it. Sometimes it is not about the motivation of the teaching staff, but about the limitations that we have mentioned previously in order to access the necessary spaces for this type of awareness. 

    2. Playgrounds and outside classrooms

    If we talk about playgrounds in Spanish schools we will find a big difference between them. There is no legislation about this and they have traditionally been places where soccer and basketball have been played. The rest of the students had to settle for the small spaces left over to spend their free time in the best possible way.

    In our case, along with the innovation that began a few years ago in the methodology, it was decided to bet on the creation of lost popular game spaces. In our courtyards we can see games like hopscotch or chess painted on the floors, which coexist with the traditional football and basketball fields.

    Its use is still residual, so we will have to continue to raise awareness so that their popularity increases and children do not just practice the most popular sports in the country, just because they have no alternative. 

    3. Col·legi Sant Roc Alcoi, Spain

    In the Col • legi Sant Roc de Alcoy we have an environment that would allow us to develop a lot of activities in the natural environment, but this is far from the town center. Within the city we have some parks, but they are not in good condition, nor do we have the necessary permits to use them during school hours.

    It is also very difficult to make families understand that the fact of carrying out outdoor activities is synonymous with learning.

    However, from the school we are making a great effort and more and more activities are carried out with learning about the natural environment and carrying out activities in it.

    In our case, learning campaigns are frequent, there are projects for reintroduction of animals in danger of extinction, we visit our school garden and we want to expand the green areas of our school so that students can enjoy plants and not just cement .

    4. Survey about Environmental Education in Spain

    Environmental Education is present in the curriculum in a cross-cutting manner in most subjects and is shown more directly in Social and Natural Sciences. However, teachers of the different educational stages consider that they are not sufficiently integrated into the curriculum, and this leads to great differences between the Spanish centres. There are centres that bet on it in an important way, while there are others that only try to raise the minimum. In a survey conducted during 2019, the vast majority of teachers and students said they thought that Environmental Education should have a greater impact on the school because of the importance it will have in the coming years due to pollution, but also because of the values, ​​it transmits. This survey also shows the lack of teacher training in this area, and as we have said before, the lack of integration in the curriculum.