> Nature Classroom
Take the classroom outside!
Going outside for some fresh air has long been a cure for all sorts of things: feeling sick or having a headache, feeling tired, feeling upset or angry, lack of concentration, needing to clear your head, feeling restless … the list goes on. However, getting some fresh air doesn’t need to be a cure just for adults; children and young adults benefit from being outdoors just as much as us oldies. In fact, research has shown that heading outdoors, and particularly contact with nature, can help improve mental and physical health AND improve academic performance.
Recent research shows that spending time in nature offers a wealth of learning opportunities and improves creativity, imagination and academic achievements. Learning to discriminate, categorise and name different objects is a critical part of a child’s intellectual development. The rich diversity of nature provides extensive opportunities for children and young adults to acquire these abilities.
In short, providing learning opportunities both indoors and outdoors will give your kids more opportunities to fulfil their creative, imaginative and academic potential.
How To Do It
Take it outside!
Take your usual lessons into an outdoor setting. Nature makes a great backdrop for many science-based activities, and can be an excellent subject for art, poetry and creative writing. On top of that, nature is full of fascinating mathematical studies!
Ask students to feed into the experience: what were the benefits of taking normal classes outside? What were the challenges? Would they like to do it again?
Conduct an experiment with your students:
Create two quizzes of equal difficulty on any topic that you have recently been looking at with your class. Ask students to complete one of these quizzes in your usual classroom. On the following day, take your students outside where students can see or hear elements of nature (such as trees, running water or singing birds). Ask students to complete the other quiz then compare your results! Which quiz setting yielded higher results on average?
- Safety concerns are often one of the barriers to getting kids outside. Work with students to establish some ground rules before heading outside – kids are more likely to follow rules they’ve helped to create!
- Bring nature into the classroom! Adding plants to your classroom is energising and calming, and students will learn about the needs of plants and how to care for them.
What’s Our Impact?
Spend time in nature running, climbing trees and getting dirty, or sitting quietly in the natural world around you. Just spending one hour outdoors instead of in the classroom will save you both gas and electricity!
- CO2E (weekly) 5.57
- CO2E (annual) 230
- Black balloons (weekly) 69
- Black balloons (annual) 2773
Many young people that have an outdoor-based curricula experience an expansion of personal skills, such as “increased confidence, improved social skills, a greater belief in personal efficacy, and very importantly, an understanding that learning could be fun.” Learn more at Classroom in Nature.
There are significant benefits to both students and teachers with the use of education outside the classroom. “Academic fieldwork clearly enhances the teaching of science and geography, but other subjects such as history, art and design, and citizenship can also be brought to life” with outdoor instruction. Learn more at Classroom in Nature.
Many studies have shown the possible connection between outdoor education and learning. Students that have had outdoor education curricula received higher scores on tests of knowledge and scored better in math, writing, and reading and developed positive academic attitudes and established greater knowledge gain. Learn more at Classroom in Nature.