Published on July 18, 2022

At North Hertfordshire College, we want to make sure our students are fully prepared for their future careers. This includes reflecting industry developments and changes within our classrooms or, in the case of our Child Development students, outside of the classroom…

The pandemic and lockdowns hugely impacted children’s development, with some young children losing access to outdoor spaces. As a result, outdoor learning has seen an increase in popularity in schools and pre-schools, helping plug the gaps in children’s holistic education. This has made it an important concept for our students to know.

Level 3 Children’s Play, Learning, and Development students have taken part in outdoors learning activities in the NHC Community Allotment to build their practical understanding of how these sessions can be beneficial to children’s development, particularly the development of social and motor skills. These gardening sessions have helped our students to apply the concepts they’ve learnt in the classroom to a practical context and experience the mental health benefits of gardening for themselves. Our students have also taken inspiration from the sessions to plan their own outdoor learning sessions they can use in their placements and careers.

Amy French, a student on NHC’s Level 3 Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning, and Development, said: “I really enjoy the allotment sessions, they help build my mood and confidence and I can see first-hand how this would help young children learn and develop. I feel quite enthusiastic about outdoor learning now and can’t wait to try out some of the activities through my work experience now!”

As practical experience is important for reinforcing what our students learn in the classroom, the NHC Community Allotment is particularly beneficial to our students by providing access to an outdoors space to apply their learning. Eve Jones, another of NHC’s Level 3 students, said: “My current placement has a very limited garden space, so having the chance to put my learning into practice at college in the allotment has bridged a gap for me before I look for a job in a nursery next year.”

Vickie Sharp, one of NHC’s Child Development Studies tutors and Course Team Leaders, said: “Working with Early Years settings, we know how outdoor learning is becoming more recognised and we want our students to be workplace-ready and receive current training. The allotment sessions are imperative for our students and provide meaningful and personalised experiences. The sessions are effective and leave a long-term impact on our learners, ready for employment.”


If you’re interested in a career working with children, why not check out North Hertfordshire College’s Child Development Studies courses?