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Outdoor Classroom Day 2017

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 10:22
Chloe Atkins

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 breaktime, not sitting in class trying to grasp a new mathematical concept. But what if you could harness the same energy and enthusiasm for both? Outdoor learning has the potential to combine abstract learning concepts with real-life examples such as trees or ponds.

Learning outdoors is not a new idea, but now in 2017 we have more evidence than ever showing the powerful impact it has on students and teachers.

Government organisation, Natural England recently published findings from its Natural Connections Demonstration Project — showing that:

  • 95% of teachers say taking lessons outdoors make them more enjoyable
  • 90% of pupils who go outdoors to learn feel happier and healthier
  • 96% of parents say play enables children to become well-rounded adults

If you 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. Inspired by Tim Gill's Sowing the Seeds report she developed the original Outdoor Classroom campaign. 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.

Outdoor Classroom Day is a day to celebrate outdoor learning and play, and to inspire schools everywhere to make outdoor learning and play part of the every day. Teachers can sign up their class or their whole school to spend at least one lesson outdoors on Thursday, 18 May.

If you’re new to outdoor learning, why not sign up to Outdoor Classroom Day, use our Get Involved guide for inspiration and 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?

There are plenty of lesson ideas and other materials in our Outdoor Library to help you plan your activities on the day and every day after that.

Whatever you decide to do, get started on your Outdoor Classroom Day adventure on Thursday, 18 May and be prepared to be amazed!

Last year over almost half a million children got involved. This year we hope it will be far bigger…

Join teachers in the UK, Ireland and around the world today by signing up your class — or whole school — at www.outdoorclassroomday.org.uk/#sign-up

If you need any help at all, simply get in touch with the Outdoor Classroom Day team.
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