We want to make people understand that spending time outdoors is as important for children’s development as learning to read and write. We want to show how learning outside of the classroom engages and excites children in spectacular ways. We want everyone to understand that outdoor play is the key to improving children’s health, wellbeing and happiness. We want to make it clear that outdoor play is not a ‘nice to have’, it is essential for children’s development.
When teachers take learning outdoors they report some powerful impacts: Children’s behaviour improves, whole classes are excited to learn, and individuals who feel inhibited by the curriculum often thrive in an outdoor environment.
When adults think back to their own happiest memories of childhood, they frequently recall the joy of playing outdoors. Play is not only central to children’s enjoyment of childhood, but teaches critical life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and creativity.
To see where over 3 million children got involved in 2019 take a look at the 2019 Map.
Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to inspire and celebrate outdoor learning and play. By getting involved in the annual celebrations, you help send a message to the world that time outdoors every day is important for every child. You also help us achieve these longer-term shared goals:
Outdoor learning is part of every school day for every child.
Every child has great recess/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.
The global Outdoor Classroom Day movement is led by ActionFunder and sponsored globally by Unilever’s Dirt For Good brands Persil/OMO which believe that when children have the freedom to explore and get stuck in to the things they care about, they learn and develop. Dirt For Good aims to support teachers, parents and carers to empower children to do good for the planet, through simple and engaging activities.
ActionFunder, a founding partner of the original campaign, works with respected environmental and educational NGOs around the world to deliver locally relevant campaigns, including: Nature Play WA (Australia), United Way Colombia (Colombia), ACE Trust (India), Movimento Bloom (Portugal), Symphonia for South Africa (South Africa), Ulko-opet ry (Finland), Learning through Landscapes (UK and Ireland) and Aktif Yaşam Derneği (Turkey).
In 2011, at the launch of Tim Gill’s Sowing the Seeds report, a group of educators and environmentalists discussed how schools in particular could address the issues that stop children getting outdoors. Their solution was a new campaign they called Empty Classroom Day.
In 2012 a handful of schools in London, England, got involved. By 2015, over 600 schools in 15 countries were involved. As the campaign grew, the volunteers who were running it recognised the need for dedicated investment. So, in 2016, ActionFunder partnered with Unilever’s Dirt is Good team to grow the movement and take it global.
Following consultation with school leaders, play experts and NGOs around the world, the global campaign became Outdoor Classroom Day. There are currently dedicated campaigns running in 13 countries, in addition to a much wider network of schools getting involved in more than 110 countries worldwide!
In response to the coronavirus crisis, the movement looks a bit different. See our latest statement on Outdoor Classroom Day and coronavirus.
The campaign’s founder and advisory board member, Anna Portch, continues to be involved in every campaign day.
“ACADEMIC RESEARCH SHOWS THAT ACTIVE PLAY IS THE NATURAL AND PRIMARY WAY THAT CHILDREN LEARN.”
Sir Ken Robinson, leading expert in education, creativity and human development
Help to spread the word about Outdoor Classroom Day! Share this page and get your friends and colleagues on board.
Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂
We’ll send you a newsletter shortly.
Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!
Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!
We’ll send you a newsletter shortly, but in the meantime why not print out this poster and take it to a teacher you know…?