What if it rains on the day?

19th May 2016

Estelle Bryers is the horticulture manager at Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery in Lancashire. They have been taking part in Empty Classroom Day for four years now, and Estelle explains why:

“It’s great that we have Empty Classroom Day to celebrate and encourage children to learn and play outdoors. The day fits in with the ethos of our entire school, to get the children outside and interacting with nature.

“For Empty Classroom Day, we have actually organised a whole week of activities. We are taking part in the Great British Bee Count which will see different classes outside from the entire school throughout the week. The children will have laminated pictures of bees and will go around the school grounds counting each sort they find. They will be able to create charts to show their findings and compare notes.

“We are very lucky as we have a forest school – basically it’s our very own little area of woodland next to the school and we will be going to the forest to identify flowers, learn the names of the trees and even pick some blackcurrants and strawberries which they will be able to wash and eat right there and then or maybe even cook with them if they wish. This is a great way for them to understand where their food comes from. If we find some nice herbs in the forest, we will be able to pick them and make a nice fresh herb salad which we can enjoy outside as well.

“Empty Classroom Day is great, children nowadays really do spend too much time looking at screens. There is a world of opportunity to learning through nature – encouraging children to spend time outdoors means they can learn more about being healthy, weight management, balance, ultimately understand how their own bodies work more. There is no hiding from the fact that children are happier outdoors – they are built to run, skip and jump in puddles. Being outdoors does children the world of good and we have got into a habit of seeing a bit of rain and staying indoors and dry, a bit of rain doesn’t hurt anyone, so let’s stop hiding and if the children get a little muddy, with a bit of a scrub, they’ll be all good again.

“To get involved with the day, it doesn’t have to be really difficult to plan. All schools have to do is look at what they are already doing and see whether they can expand this outdoors. One simple activity schools could arrange is hop scotch – all they need it a piece of chalk, get the children to draw the outline and you’re done. They would love that.

“Also you don’t have to be in the countryside to enjoy nature. Birds still fly over wherever you are; we just need to be out there looking. I really find that children are less restless when they are outside, they are stimulated, excited to be there and happy to learn.

“Being outdoors also helps dispel feelings towards certain insects and creatures – for instance there are many children who are scared of spiders, bees, wasps, all sorts of creatures. When a child sees an adult react when they see a creature, and not in a scared way, in a curious way, it changes the way they think. If I point out a spider and get them interested, take a few photographs and go over the benefits of spiders and what they do for us, you can see them starting to change how they feel about them. They start to be interested and not scared. That’s what being outdoors can do. It takes away fear; nature really is the best classroom we have”.

Don’t forget to get signed up to Empty Classroom Day and join in with this celebration of outdoor play and learning.

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Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂

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We’ll send you a newsletter shortly. Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Wohoo! Top marks for signing up!

Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

We’ll send you a newsletter shortly. Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!