This Outdoor Classroom Day, on Thursday 19 May, teachers and children across the globe will be taking lessons outside. It’s a fantastic opportunity for many to explore outdoor learning afresh, and how the natural world can be incorporated into classes for any subject. The young people in Our Bright Future want this to be a part of education every day!

 

But did you know that many students in the UK spend less time outdoors than maximum security prisoners?

 

It’s a shocking fact, but it can be changed for the better. You can support young people’s call for learning in and about nature to be embedded throughout the education system, for all ages and across all subjects. Why not take a moment today to tell us why learning in and about nature is important to you.

 

The evidence is plentiful. Getting outside and learning about nature has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, stress and behavioural issues, with 90% of pupils saying they feel happier and healthier[1]. Studies have also indicated that increasing time spent outdoors can reduce instances of infectious diseases such as colds by up to 80%[2]. With the disruption that Covid has caused to children’s schooling over the past two years, the case for embedding outdoor learning within all areas of the education system is surely stronger than ever.

 

And of course, it’s not only about the facts and stats! Young people want more opportunities to take classes outside, and to learn more about the environment. Together, we want to demonstrate that there is demand for nature-based learning, not only from young people, but from educators, parents, youth workers… anyone and everyone!

 

It needn’t mean trekking to and from a nature reserve every day; outdoor learning can be introduced through small activities within school grounds, even if you don’t have huge amounts of space or immediate access to nature. Exactly as many schools will be doing this Outdoor Classroom Day!

 

And let’s not forget the benefits to nature, too. As well as the more immediate improvements that outdoor learning activities can bring to nature in school grounds, by ensuring that children today are given the opportunity to engage with nature, nurturing their love and sense of responsibility for the environment, the conservationists of tomorrow will find their calling.

 

 

If you’re heading outside this Outdoor Classroom Day, let us know what activities you’ve got planned! And if you’re looking for ideas, have a watch of this series of videos from young advocates at Ulster Wildlife.

 

You can add your support to young people’s call for more learning in and about nature here.

 

[1] Natural England, Natural Connections Demonstration Project, 2012-2016: Final Report, 2016

[2] Prisk, Cath and Dr Harry Cusworth, Muddy Hands, 2019