Outdoor Classroom Day
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By Elizabeth Lake, Countryside Classroom Programme Co-ordinator
Countryside Classroom is a forward-thinking partnership of organisations that represents the very best in food, farming, and environment education. The partnership understands how important global initiatives such as Outdoor Classroom Day are for students and actively promote the benefits of taking the classroom outside. Research has shown that pupils feel a sense of freedom when learning outside the classroom, they are also more able to express themselves, more engaged and more positive about the learning experience.
In addition, the partnership recognises that the use of outdoor learning is a highly effective environment for delivering the national curriculum for pupils of all ages, LEAF Education are one such partner who support farmers and teachers to work together to offer curriculum linked activities out on real working farms. It also has a growing network of LEAF Education Demonstration Schools, set up as best practice examples of using farming and food production as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
Carl Edwards, Director, Education and Public Engagement at LEAF, said:
“Outdoor experiential learning provides young people with the opportunities to learn in a completely different context to the usual classroom environment. It gives them the chance to think differently, behave differently, question and frame things differently, and ultimately to learn differently. Very often we find different children thrive in an outdoor setting and provides them the confidence and encouragement to do so.”
Not only can time outdoors help to make learning experiences more relevant, contextualised, and memorable but can also encourage better health and wellbeing. Partners believe strongly that allowing sufficient time to play and learn outdoors as part of the school day is the single most important thing that schools can do to tackle the growing crisis of mental health issues in children and young people.
Carley Sefton, CEO at Learning through Landscapes, said:
“There is a growing body of research that shows that time outdoors is beneficial for children’s mental health – and time and time again we hear this from teachers too.”
“Weather is often cited as a reason for keeping children indoors, but we believe that there’s no such things as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!"
Teachers and educators can find all sorts of outdoor Places to Visit on Countryside Classroom ranging from farms, gardens, nature reserves and much more. However, if an excursion is not possible there is a wealth of free materials that will inspire a wide range of fun and exciting activities that can take place in the school grounds. Monthly Blogs highlight the latest resources launched by the partners with initiatives such as Outdoor Classroom Day in mind and resources been broken down into the different key stages so it is always easy to find some inspiration for your students’ age group.
It is possible for sites to be added to Places to Visit, and we would welcome new additions, here is the process:
Thank you for getting in touch and expressing an interest in contributing a place to visit to Countryside Classroom.
The best way to do this is to register on the site as a user. This means that you will have a permanent login that you can use to return to and edit your listing in the future. Please register here (http://www.countrysideclassroom.org.uk/login) and then add a new place to visit, filling in details such as what age groups you cater for, what curriculum subjects are covered and what pricing options are available. If possible, it is also a good idea to add a photo.
Once submitted, your listing will be moderated by the Countryside Classroom team, so it will not appear on the site immediately. Please allow a few days for this process to be completed.
If you have any further questions regarding the Countryside Classroom website or your account, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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