Outdoor Classroom Day

happy school kids outside

The next global Outdoor Classroom Day is scheduled for November 5th, 2020 and the theme will be Love the Outdoors!

Have you heard about Outdoor Classroom Day? It is no secret that children love to be outside.  Even when it is raining – sometimes especially when it is raining – children love to be in open spaces, immersed in nature and free to move about and explore the world around them, unstructured.  It is also no secret that through their natural play and exploration children are learning and fostering skills important to their education and development, all while having fun.  And when children are learning in a fun environment they are more likely to retain the information than if it was in a more formal setting.  It’s outdoor education, and it’s what the global initiative, Outdoor Classroom Day, is hoping to encourage more of. 

Outdoor Classroom Day – What is it all about?

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritise playtime. In 2018, over 3.5 million children worldwide took part, over 300,000 of those were in Australia. 

The results found during these outdoor learning experiences speak for themselves.  Not only is it known to improve a child’s health and lead to a greater connection with nature, but the play aspect is critical in developing a child’s life skills such as resilience, teamwork and creativity.  Plus, it’s fun.

When teachers take learning outdoors they report some powerful impacts: Children’s behaviour improves, whole classes are excited to learn, and individuals who feel inhibited by the curriculum often thrive in an outdoor environment.   

The impact of outdoor learning and playtime at school – and beyond!

Project Dirt (the creators of Outdoor Classroom Day) asked teachers who have taken part in Outdoor Classroom Day about the impact of taking children outdoors.

The results are encouraging as they show that there is a fast-growing number of schools worldwide that recognise how important outdoor learning and play is for children, teachers and whole schools, as well as parents and the wider community.

Key findings include:

  • 68% of teachers want more time for children to play outdoors.
  • 87% of teachers want more time to take lessons outside.
  • One fifth (22%) of teachers told us that they have increased playtime since taking part in the campaign, and two fifths (44%) have increased time for outdoor lessons.
  • 97% of teachers worldwide believe that outdoor playtime throughout the school day is critical for children to reach their full potential.
  • 65% of primary schools globally get less than one hour of playtime (recess) a day and 12% get less than 30 minutes.
  • 88% of teachers globally said that children are happier after playing outdoors, and 89% said the same when they learn outdoors.
  • 79% of teachers globally said that the weather stops children playing outdoors.
  • 1 in 7 of respondents worldwide said that nothing prevents children from playing outdoors.

You can read the full report here.

kids learning outdoors

How to get your school involved

The next global Outdoor Classroom Day is scheduled for November 5th, 2020.  If you would love to get your school involved in this fantastic initiative then the process towards setting it up is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Sign Up – Head to the Outdoor Classroom Day website and register your class or school for the event.
  2. Resources – check out all of the fantastic resources and ideas found on their resources page for ideas on how to make the most out of your outdoor educational experience.  There are Outdoor Classroom Nature Passport Packs, lesson plans, activities and so much more to explore.
  3. Get outside, learn and play  – take your class outside and make the most of Outside Learning Day.  Record the event and if you want to you can even share your fun on the Outdoor Classroom Day social media accounts to help spread the word further.

Get your kids outside and make learning memorable

Building on the success of the 2019 campaign, Outdoor Classroom Day aims to get as many children as possible playing and learning outside on Thursday 5 November. For some schools, this will be an opportunity to try learning outside the classroom for the first time. For teachers who regularly take students outdoors, the day will be a celebration of what they are doing already and a chance to inspire other schools to get involved. For everyone, Outdoor Classroom Day will act as a catalyst for more time outdoors every day. 

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