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outdoor classroom day yvette berry feature

Swapping books for bugs: Outdoor Classroom Day

HerCanberra Team

As a city, we’re all too aware of the dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle. Many workplaces facilitate or encourage initiatives like standing desks, walking meetings, and generally increasing our activity levels.

But what about our children?

Where we once climbed, dug, explored and played in the great outdoors, too often this important physical activity is replaced with apps, games and television. Depressingly, it sometimes seems like a sedentary lifestyle is becoming the new norm for our kids.

Yesterday, however, that concept was challenged. More than 60 schools and learning centres across Canberra took part in Australia’s first national celebration of Outdoor Classroom Day. In Canberra, the occasion was celebrated with a central event at the National Arboretum, where 200 children from six schools engaged in a range of creative, fun outdoor learning opportunities.

“Outdoor play and learning is not something that is confined to after the bell rings, the weekend or to school holidays” says Minister for Education, Yvette Berry.

“Outdoor learning can easily be a part of the school day, complementing and supporting the curriculum. When children are outdoors it inspires them, they are more motivated, physically active and have an increased appetite to learn.”

The event wasn’t just an opportunity for kids – it was an opportunity for teachers whose classes were treated to lessons run by local community organisations like ACT Waterwatch, Molonglo Catchment Group, The Tree Detectives, Jerrabomberra Wetlands, ACT Frogwatch and ACT for Bees.

The idea is to inspire teachers with ideas to incorporate outdoor learning into more classrooms across the country.

Getting children exploring and enjoying the outdoors is something that the ACT Government have been working towards through Nature Play CBR. The program provides information around parks and bushland areas available for use, activities to try, events to attend and tips for parents and teachers to get more kids playing outside in nature.

We’re so lucky to live a city that has so many beautiful parks and bushland areas to explore. Learning, playing and spending time outside with our children not only increases their activity levels, but also fosters an understanding and appreciation of our beautiful environment – not to mention, sparking imagination and creativity.

Spring is the perfect time to get outdoors. Whether you’re a teacher looking for ideas for outdoor learning, a parent needing some inspiration or a student who’s keen to take their learning outside, visit www.natureplaycbr.org.au, or www.outdoorclassroomday.com.

 

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