“We are living in an age of unprecedented uncertainty and change. Nobody has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re educating children for it.”
Sir Ken Robinson
What can we do?
How about joining in Outdoor Classroom Day, a global campaign to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom?
Learning outdoors is not new, but in 2017 we have more evidence than ever before that shows the powerful impact it has on students and teachers. Natural England, a UK based NGO, recently showed that 92 per cent of teachers involved in their four year trial said that having lessons outdoors improved pupils engagement with learning, and 94 per cent said it also improved their health and wellbeing.
Most of the teachers involved also said that outdoor learning made them feel happier about their own teaching experience too!
Children’s outdoor play can be even more powerful. In their play children develop imaginary worlds that they can control, where they can triumph over disaster. They can develop new games and test out ways of behaving and ideas. They are physically active and emotionally engaged. This behaviour is not unimportant. It is how they build up a repertoire of flexible responses to situations they create and encounter. And that’s how they build confidence, resilience, teamwork and emotional intelligence. It’s how they learn who they are and who they might become. Its also how they are happiest.
Back in 2011, Anna Portch felt how important it was to inspire schools to have a go at going outdoors. In 2012 a handful of London schools got involved. From there, it has grown into an international movement — in 2016 almost half a million children across over 50 countries got outdoors to play and learn as part of their school day.
If you’re new to outdoor learning or your school doesn't yet have a whole school play policy, 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 Thursday 18 May and be prepared to be amazed.
Join the movement by signing up your class — or whole school — today!
Outdoor Classroom Day is coordinated globally by Project Dirt, and led in specific countries by local NGOs. It is backed by Unilever’s Dirt is Good brands around the world.