Celebrate your outdoor space in National School Grounds Week

Between 10th and 14th June, Learning through Landscapes are helping show schools and communities across the country how easy and worthwhile it is to take learning and teaching outdoors.

So what is National School Grounds Week all about? Marianne Mannello, Assistant Director of Play Wales explains…

“Children’s free time is increasingly scarce and opportunities for outdoor play are steadily decreasing, although children tell us they enjoy spending time playing outside with friends. School Grounds Week presents an opportunity to improve the quality of time spent outdoors both for pupils and staff. Time spent outdoors during school time is vital to children for their fun and relaxation, as well as for their health and wellbeing. It is part of their ‘work/life balance’.”

The theme for 2013 focuses on the resources that we waste and LTL have released ideas and advice for schools wanting to find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Moving lessons outdoors has a number of benefits for children and incorporating environmental citizenship into their daily routine is crucial for developing eco-friendly attitudes early on. We’ve compiled some ideas for each day during National School Grounds Week:

Monday: Time.Use your outdoor space and nearby natural resources to create sundials. Watch the sun’s movement change throughout the school day and see whose creation makes the best shadow.

Tuesday: Water.Move outdoors and learn about the importance of water for our environment. Conduct experiments in evaporation or see how water, or a lack of it, affects plants during the day.

Wednesday: Fabric.Combine scrap fabric with materials found in your school grounds to create something new. Design dens or make kites, show how simple it is to make something old into a brand new object.

Thursday: Paper.Make Thursday a screen-free day and only work with paper. Head outdoors to take rubbings from different materials and sketch the natural world. Don’t forget to recycle it all at the end of the day!

Friday: Food. Your outdoor space is the perfect place to learn where food comes from. Set-up your own mini vegetable patch and start some plants from seedlings. Gardening with children will help them see how they can produce their own food and will teach important lessons of sustainability.

Outdoor classrooms bring learning and the environment together. Natural light and environmentally friendly materials help children connect with their surroundings and understand their impact on the world first hand. National School Grounds Week is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about your outdoor space and how it can be improved to best benefit your pupils.