Have you ever had the opportunity to “play” in an outdoor classroom?
In my own search for information on outdoor classrooms, I find it interesting that so many of the outdoor classroom initiatives are European-based. Why is that, I wonder? Do we as Americans see “play” as an unnecessary activity that takes time away from learning?
In this video clip, the rise in the number of children across the world is discussed as a possible problem for outdoor spaces. School outdoor spaces are being sacrificed in order to provide more classrooms and learning spaces. But why can’t an outdoor space be used as a “learning space”?
Think back on when you were a child. What activities did you enjoy doing the most? I bet the majority of those activities occurred outside. What was your favorite part of the school day? I know, I’m sure all of you immediately thought “MATH!”. (Sarcasm). More likely, you thought recess, P.E. or an interesting field trip.
The fact is that outdoor classrooms cut down on behavior issues, while also enhancing social, emotional and physical skills. Not only that, but children are able to further their own academic ideas and knowledge within an outdoor learning space.
Check out this video about three different schools in the U.K. that changed the way their students learn and play using natural landscapes.
In the last few minutes of the video, one of the school employees talks about how many schools say things like, “we don’t have the money”, and “we can’t do that” in regards to incorporating a natural landscape into their school day learning. I find the response to that very powerful:
“Make a start.”
How can you make a start in your school, community or childcare center?