Next Friday 20th June 2014 is Empty Classroom Day. Its aim is simple: for every teacher to take their classroom outside to learn, for one lesson. The project was created by a collection of organisations who met at the London Sustainable Schools Forum seeking to support learning outside.
What you do is up to you. It could be as simple as having a maths lesson in the playground or story writing in a local park. Maybe you could give a lesson on making daisy chains and blowing grass trumpets or go on a bug hunt and bird watch. If you are feeling more ambitious, make a day of it and take your class to a farm, a zoo or a nature reserve. You could all go for a really long walk, or perhaps you could take a simple stroll around the neighbourhood. Encourage the children to take a good look at their local environment and think of ways in which they can make it a nicer place: a simple litter pick or something more challenging and long term, such as transforming a local patch of wasteland into a garden.
Visit the Project Dirt website to sign up and make a pledge to empty your classroom next Friday. While you are there, take a look at some of the projects being undertaken by other schools to provide a little inspiration. Alternatively, have a quick peek at the National Trust site 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 ¾. Whether it is for one hour or the whole day, make sure the children come equipped with sunhats and sunscreen or wellies and waterproofs, depending on the weather forecast next Thursday, and just go outside.
Whatever you choose to do, you are guaranteed a positive response from your pupils and if you are not entirely convinced about the importance of outside learning, have a look at our whitepaper by visiting The Outdoor Environment page on our website. We passionately believe in the positive impact that being outside has upon a child’s physical and mental health, not to mention their ability to learn. Happy, healthy children with a passion for learning: what could be better?