One of the UK’s largest youth-led environmental programmes is calling young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day this Thursday

Our Bright Future, a partnership of 31 projects across the UK, is calling young people to spend an hour of their school day outdoors, this Thursday (7 November), in order to improve wellbeing and engage with nature.

 

  • three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates[1]
  • children from families with lower incomes tend to have fewer opportunities to engage with nature than children from families with a higher income. This makes their need for improved access to nature through the school curriculum significantly greater[2]
  • studies have shown that increasing time spent outdoors reduces children’s infectious diseases (colds, sore throats etc) by 80%[3]
  • youth led environmental programme, Our Bright Future, is calling on young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day
Following consultation with 300 young people from across the programme, Our Bright Future found that 11-24 year olds wanted to campaign for more time spent learning in and about nature. To make this a reality the programme is calling on policy makers to produce guidance to schools stating that at least an hour of lesson time per day should be spent outdoors.

 

Roberta Antonaci, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Our Bright Future, said: “There are endless activities that schools can do outdoors. From species surveys in science to sustainable sculptures in art. Something as simple as going for a walk in your local green space can really improve your wellbeing. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and you don’t have to go far. Everyone can get involved.”

 

The initiative has also been backed by education professionals. A Belfast-based teacher, whose school is involved with a local Our Bright Future project, said: “Students have a greater understanding of what is right on their doorstep. They have gained respect for wild places and the animals that live there.”

 

It is expected that schools right across the UK will be getting involved.
Our Bright Future is a £33 million partnership programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and formed of 31 projects across the UK. Each project is helping young people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing.
Find out more about the Our Bright Future campaign here and the worldwide Outdoor Classroom Day initiative here  

 

[1] Carrington, Damien (2016) ‘Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates – survey, The Guardian

[2] CPRE (2018) ‘National Parks and AONBs: access for all, says CPRE’

[3] Prisk, Cath and Dr Harry Cusworth (2019) ‘Muddy Hands’ p.32