Think about the last time you saw a child grinning wildly, bursting with excitement and eager to explore. Chances are they were outside in the playground at break time, not sitting in class trying to grasp a new mathematical concept. But what if you could harness the same energy for both? What if that distant concept became a real-life example embodied in a tree, a rock, a pond?
Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom!
The practice of outdoor learning is not a new one and there is evidence from around the world that shows the powerful impact it has on students and teachers:
- Two in three children globally play outside for less than an hour and a half a day – that’s less than the two hour guideline for maximum security prisoners in the US.*
- Eighty-five per cent of parents believe that their children are more creative when they play without technology. **
- Ninety-two per cent of schools agreed that children engaged more with their learning outdoors. ***
- Learning outside the classroom raises educational standards and that it offers for many their first real contact with the natural environment. ****
- Ninety-nine per cent of teachers surveyed in Australia believe that outdoor playtime throughout the school day is critical for children to reach their full potential. *****
If you who have ever taken learning outside, even just once, you don’t need the statistics. You’ve seen it, felt it, lived it. Back in 2011, Anna Portch felt it too, so strongly that she founded the Outdoor Classroom Day movement to inspire and encourage more schools to give outdoor learning a go. From there, it has grown into an international campaign — in 2017 over two million children across the world got outdoors to play and learn as part of their school day.
If you’re new to outdoor learning, why not use the day to give it a go? Or if it’s part of your normal week, why not use the day to celebrate what you’re doing already and encourage other schools in your area to join in? Whatever you decide to do, get started on your Outdoor Classroom Day adventure on 1 November, 2018 and be prepared to be amazed.
The global Outdoor Classroom Day is led by Project Dirt, in partnership with Unilever as part of their Dirt is Good movement. In Australia, Nature Play QLD is working to deliver the campaign.
*Source: Edelman Berland for Unilever, 2016.
** Source: Edelman Berland for Unilever, 2016.
**** Source: English Outdoor Council’s Lobbying toolkit