Outdoor Classroom Day 2018: Play today, be prepared for tomorrow

The success of the biannual global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign has shown that teaching and learning needn’t be confined to the four walls of a classroom. This November, South African schools are encouraged to make the most of the pleasant South African climate by taking at least one class outdoors  

 

Symphonia for South Africa (SSA) is calling on teachers across South Africa to hold at least one lesson outdoors on Thursday, 1 November 2018as part of the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign.

As the approved partner and proud leader of Outdoor Classroom Day in South Africa, SSA understands that outdoor playing and learning is critical to the development of a child. Louise van Rhyn, CEO and Founder of SSA’s flagship programme, PfP, said:

‘‘We are calling on teachers, parents and anyone who cares about childhood to get involved in the campaign on 1 November- whether that involves taking a class outdoors, encouraging your child’s school to sign up, or helping spread the message far and wide. Everyone can do something to make sure children across the country experience the benefits of playing and learning outdoors.’’

The November leg of the South African campaign follows successful May events which saw over 75,000 children from diverse schools across South Africa take part.

Despite efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of outdoor activity, statistics from South Africa are worrying. The time that children spend outside is in decline and the impact of a sedentary lifestyle is having dire health consequences. At least 13% of South African children are overweight or obese – almost three times the global average of 5%. Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that 74% of children spend less time each day outdoors than the 60 minutes recommended for prison inmates.

It is clear that the impact of outdoor learning is positive and far-reaching. It incentivizes children to learn and, as a result, helps to improve their behaviour. Play is not only central to children’s enjoyment of childhood – it teaches critical life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and creativity.

The movement for outdoor learning is the brainchild of environmental educator, Anna Portch, who started the project in 2012 as Empty Classroom Day in the United Kingdom. This grew into the global Outdoor Classroom campaign which has spread to more than 110 countries across the globe.

We hope that this year’s campaign will serve as a catalyst for more daily outdoor play and learning time for all South African children.

What can you do to get involved?

• Visit https://outdoorclassroomday.com/to sign up your school

• Check out the Outdoor Classroom Day resource bank which offers outdoor activity ideas, lesson plans, and advice.

• Take your class outdoors on Thursday, 1 November 2018

• Document and share how you incorporated uniquely South African flair and originality into your chosen activities for the day.

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30 November -1, 00:00
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