Wild things: how ditching the classroom boosts children’s mental health

3rd June 2016

Getting outdoors can pay dividends in academic performance – but it also improves pupils’ concentration and confidence

 

Three years ago teacher Simon Poote spotted a disused strip of land on the grounds of Long Crendon School in Aylesbury and saw potential for creating an outdoor learning space for his students. The school appealed to parents, local businesses and the community to donate everything from landfill material to create small hills, to unwanted play equipment to build a trim trail and tunnels for the children to explore. Help came thick and fast, and the area now boasts a fully equipped thatched mud kitchen and a system of pipes and pulleys to transport water around the site.

Headteacher Sue Stamp insists outdoor learning has become more than just a project for the school, “it’s a way of life” she explains. The whole ethos of the school is to be outdoors as much as possible, rain or shine, so that students of all ages also take part in forest school activities in a wooded area alongside the playing field two days a week, learning skills such as fire lighting and making charcoal, as well as being allowed to climb trees, all under supervision.

Many of the outdoor activities they undertake are linked to curriculum subjects, and complement classroom lessons rather than detract from them. A factor which Stamp believes has played a part in the school’s continuing exam success. But outdoor learning is far more than an academic exercise – the head claims the impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing is undeniable.

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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 🙂 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!