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Reconnect with nature on Empty Classroom Day
This Friday, 5th July, is Project Dirt’s second Empty Classroom Day. Founded in 2011 by schools and organisations at the London Sustainable Schools Forum, it is designed to be a day to celebrate outdoor learning. The idea behind Empty Classroom Day comes down to one thing, schools simply have to pledge that on 5th July they will take one class during the day outdoors.
Last year, despite the rain, over one hundred schools joined in to celebrate learning outside the classroom and this year even more have signed up to join in the fun. If you’re planning to take part in Empty Classroom Day this week, we’ve put together some ideas for moving lessons outdoors.
- Maths. Use the outdoors for measurements and estimations by trying to work out the height of trees, how fast grass grows and how far things can travel. Practical experiments with numbers can help children retain information for longer and be more attentive.
- Science. Give children a real-life example of textbook lessons by showing them how they make an impact on the world around them. Environmental Citizenship and climate change are an important part of science lessons, children need to understand their environment before they can care for it.
- English. Many authors will argue that the natural world is the foundation of all their work. Move English lessons outdoors to use the environment as inspiration for your latest creative writing. Ask children to write poems or stories based on what they can see around them.
- Art. There’s nothing quite like getting your hands dirty and creating something from nature itself. Practice pottery in the mud or take rubbings from the trees and ask classes to bring their artistic finds together to make one huge masterpiece.
- Drama. Let the playground become your stage for a performance with a twist. An outdoor play is a great way to connect with nature, choose something that complements the fresh air, Wind in the Willows or Treasure Island, and brush up on your acting skills.
- Go beyond the school walls. There are no rules when it comes to Empty Classroom Day so don’t think that outdoor learning has to stop at the school walls. Take a lesson to a local park, field or farm and experience learning in a brand new environment.
It’s simple for schools to take just one lesson outdoors this Friday. Taking learning outside the classroom is fantastic for pupils, teachers and the environment. Celebrate Empty Classroom Day this year to see how easy outdoor learning can be and how incorporating it into the normal routine permanently can benefit your school.
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