Episode 11: Take Your Kids and Curriculum Outside

Guest: Sarah Seaman, Muddy Puddles

Sarah Seaman, started her outdoor teaching journey as a Level 3 Forest School Leader but found this challenging alongside her own teaching responsibilities. While Sarah loved the ethos of Forest Schools, the workload was unsustainable, costly and needed regular practice to perfect. It also relied on working with small groups and having access to high quality resources. This inspired Sarah to come up with a different approach.

An approach which encouraged children to be more active outside, but also to bring these experiences into the classroom rather than keeping them so separate. Sarah recognized the problems that many schools face, such as limited budgets and resources. And that’s when she came up with the Muddy Puddle Teacher Approach. A teaching approach that uses the outside to enhance the inside learning. Encouraging teachers out and nature in!

So what is the Muddy Puddle Teacher Approach? And how is it different to Forest Schools and other approaches? Well, the MPTA shares a similar ethos as Forest Schools but our methods are very different. The main difference is that we link all of our activities and ideas to the curriculum. And, we use nature and the outdoors in the process. We do not limit ourselves to the outside we use the inside space too. This makes our approach more academic with the holistic elements feeding in because we use natural and upcycled resources. But it’s not just children that benefit from Muddy Puddles. We support our educators too so that they can deliver more impactful lessons for children. Our outdoor lessons also complement all the work our educators do indoors. We take an outside-in approach from an inside-out approach.

What’s more? Our approach has an incredible impact on less-abled and disengaged children especially through the outdoor-learning aspect to our approach. These children thrive when using the Muddy Puddles approach and teachers witness impressive academic achievements by simply placing them in calm surroundings and multi-sensory resources.

The Muddy Puddle Teacher Approach gives you the tools and guidance to take your curriculum outdoors, use natural resources and embrace teaching all year round! Through this approach, your children will receive a unique academic experience that is cross-curricula. More importantly, you’ll have a positive impact on their physical health and mental well-being. Learning will become more memorable for children and you’ll find that they are fueled with enthusiasm as their confidence increases!

This approach will also support your own well-being as an educator. As you begin your journey as a Muddy Puddle Teacher, you’ll find that you become more creative and increase your own physical activity. To help guide us we follow the Muddy Ms. Muddy Nature-you will use nature as a second teacher. Muddy Wellbeing-You will think of the child’s well-being every lesson. Muddy Movers-We will keep children active.

Some topics that were discussed include:

  • Working outside reduces over teacher workload.
  • Benefits of being outdoors for kids
  • Benefits of using natural resources
  • Utilizing the naturalist app to teach kids about their surroundings
  • The importance of movement in learning
  • Playing and learning outside helps reduce childhood obesity
  • Top materials used when participating in the Muddy Puddle Program
  • Practical applications of The Muddy Puddle Program
  • The importance of the language used by the parent to persuade or dissuade the child from playing outside.
  • The history of the Muddy Puddle Program and the importance of the program’s current success. How does this approach ensure quality learning when they are outdoors?

Simple! They follow the three Muddy M’s.

The Muddy M’s stop that inside teacher coming out and makes us concentrate on what it is about the outside, that makes it such a powerful place to learn.

Mother Nature – We try to use natural resources wherever possible.  To increase the environmental impact, the connection with nature and sensory opportunities.

Muddy Movers – We try to encourage children to enjoy active sessions, that get them out of breath and allow them to use their energy and play.

Mental Strength – We will try to use the benefits the outside brings to improve teacher and mental strength by allowing the natural sounds, weather and calming resources to make us appreciate ourselves, connect with others and feel confident in own skin.

Contact Sarah Seaman:

The Muddy Puddle Teacher Ltd
5 Rose Hill Avenue, Sheffield, S20 5PP

References & links mentioned:




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Episode 11: Take Your Kids and Curriculum Outside

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