May Outdoor Classroom Day 2019

Thursday the 23rd of May was a beautiful crisp, blue sky, Autumn day in South Africa. More than 300 schools and 54 000 children had signed up to take part in the Global Outdoor Classroom Day. Collectively around the world more than 1, 7 million children were doing the same.

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to inspire and celebrate outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outside and prioritise playtime. As well as having fun, they will show how important and easy it is to give children more time outdoors.

The campaign is about more than just one day; it is a catalyst to inspire more time outdoors every day, both at school and at home. To achieve this, the campaign has three aims:

· Outdoor learning is part of every school day for every child;

· Every child has great playtime at school every day for at least 60 minutes, with the longer-term aim of 90 minutes;

· Schools act as advocates for more time outdoors, so that outdoor play becomes part of every child’s everyday life.

One of our volunteers spent some time at Sandton Montessori Pre-School. The atmosphere was amazing with half of the school outdoors learning. 23rd May was world turtle day this was incorporated into all the outdoor activities.

 Another volunteer spent time with three Grade R classrooms at Nova Pioneer School located in Ormonde, South of Johannesburg. This is what she had to say” It was evident that the learners have previously engaged in outdoor play, or ‘free play’ as described by one of the supervising teachers. I was told that the learners engaged in free play almost every single day as part of their learning activities.”

A third volunteer reported on her time at Pecanwood Pre-Primary. The classes are locked for the day and all activities take place outdoors. There were many play stations. The children were laughing, having fun and learning through play. At the lunch break, the children sat out in the sunshine and ate their lunch and afterwards used the recycling bins to throw away their remains. They have been trained on how to re-cycle correctly.

A day to remember. Learning outdoors, having fun, socially engaged and building gross and fine motor muscles. We need to encourage this type of play for all children. Their mental health improves as they engage outdoors.

Join us on 7th November for the next Global Outdoor Classroom Day. Involve your parents, bring in some volunteers and business partners and get creative about how we can all thrive by being out in nature. Please register here to take part:

The global Outdoor Classroom Day is led by Project Dirt, in partnership with Unilever as part of their Dirt is Good movement. In South Africa, Symphonia for South Africa is leading the campaign.

30 November -1, 00:00