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?
Playforce is proud to support Outdoor Classroom Day, 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.*
• 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. ****
As part of our research into the impact of investment in outdoor spaces, Playforce has found numerous benefits in children playing and learning in high quality outdoor environments. Here are just some of the headlines from our latest impact evidence research:
• 48% reported a significant increase in physical activity levels
• Significant improvements were reported in behaviour (43.4%) and attitudes to learning (36.3%)
• 54% reported a happier school community
However, you don’t need a new playground to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day. The Outdoor Classroom Day movement was started to inspire and encourage more schools to give outdoor learning a go. From there, it has grown into an international campaign — in 2016 almost half a 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 18th May and be prepared to be amazed.
Join the movement today by signing up your class — or whole school — at www.outdoorclassroomday.com.
Outdoor Classroom Day is backed by Unilever’s Dirt is Good brands, coordinated nationally by Project Dirt, and led in specific countries by local NGOs.
*Source: Edelman Berland for Unilever, 2016.
**Source: Edelman Berland for Unilever, 2016.
*** Source: Learning in the Natural Environment: Review of social and economic benefits and barriers (NECR092), Natural England
****Source: English Outdoor Council’s Lobbying toolkit