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More than 1,400 UK schools taking part in initiative

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Thursday, May 17, 2018 – 9:55am

Schools in more than 100 countries will take children out of their classrooms today and into the great outdoors for Outdoor Classroom Day.

More than 18,000 schools, including more than 1,400 in the UK, are expected to participate in the initiative, which is designed to encourage pupils to explore and learn from the natural world.

Teachers and schools are encouraged to be creative in using the day not only to enhance pupils’ learning experience, but also to foster a connection to nature in an era when young people are spending more and more of their time indoors.

A survey carried out by the day’s organisers found that 65% of primary schools globally give pupils less than one hour of playtime a day, despite 97% of teachers agreeing that outdoor playtime during the school day is critical for children to reach their full potential.

Outdoor lesson plans may involve “using natural objects like twigs and stones to do sums, building a den to encourage teamwork, or going on a bug hunt to stimulate curiosity”, says National Geographic.

The movement for outdoor learning is the brainchild of environmental educator Anna Portch, who started the project in 2012 as Empty Classroom Day.

Originally attracting the attention of just a handful of schools in London, by 2016 the concept had spread to 15 countries. With backing from multinational consumer goods giant Unilever, as part of their Dirty Is Good campaign, the initiative went global as Outdoor Classroom Day.

In 2017, more than two million pupils in upwards of 100 countries took part, in schools everywhere from New Zealand to Kenya to Brazil to Saudi Arabia.

The day coincides with numerous reports suggesting that people in the UK, particularly the younger generations, are less engaged with their physical surroundings than ever.

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Source:: The Week – All news

      

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