For many, some of our fondest childhood memories and most powerful life lessons happened outside the classroom. Play is a pivotal part of a child’s life, a critical element of growing- up and an opportunity to create friendships that can last a lifetime. Outdoor play fosters opportunities for creativity, imagination, social connections, and a wide range of learned behaviours.
Most kids today can rhyme off the names all the current Disney stars or current MTV hits. But do they know how plants grow? Do they know the life-cycle of a butterfly? Do they know what makes the sky blue, the grass green, or why leaves change colour in the fall? Nature requires the use of all the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It is the diversity of sensory experiences that initiates a more creative learning environment for children. Natural playgrounds encourage students expand their minds and souls with a focus on learning how to think, as opposed to being taught what to think.
Outdoor classrooms bring learning to life. An outdoor classroom is a space that brings learning outside. It becomes a gathering place for teachers and students and provides an opportunity to integrate nature into your school grounds. By giving students the opportunity to get outside and experience nature, they can bring learning to life.
Outdoor classroom designs incorporate seating, teaching platforms and natural elements to explore. A well-planned outdoor classroom that is integrated into the school community will become an important part of your school and can be used for every subject, in every season. There is no standard design for an outdoor classroom; the key is to develop the classroom that will work best for your school grounds and needs of your school.
As taken from “TD Friends of Environment Foundation guide for successful fundraising”
Everyone benefits from learning outdoors, especially young people. In addition to the educational value of nature-based programming are the health benefits of getting outdoors. Benefits include: