Children at Amber Preschool

Happy Outdoor Classroom Day!

Believe in the power of outdoor learning and play?

Get involved in Outdoor Classroom Day!

Think about the last time you saw a child grinning wildly, bursting with excitement and eager to explore. Chances are they were outside in the playground at break time, not sitting in class trying to grasp a new mathematical concept.

But what if you could harness the same energy for both? What if that distant concept became a real-life example embodied in a tree, a rock, a pond?

What is Outdoor Classroom Day?

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom!

It’s a day where parents/carers, teachers and outdoor educators are encouraged to make the most of their outside space. It highlights the benefits of learning outdoors for educational and personal development.

Learning outdoors encourages teamwork, communication skills, creativity, risk-taking, critical thinking and builds confidence.

OCDay new logo

When is Outdoor Classroom Day?

In 2024, Outdoor Classroom day is 23 May and 7 November.

These dates change a little each year as obviously the dates have to fall on a school day — it’s no good having Outdoor Classroom Day on the weekend!

Twice a year really isn’t much effort to take your learning outdoors, and the different seasons give us an opportunity to explore the changing nature in our settings.

What can I do on Outdoor Classroom Day?

You may find your school is doing something as part of the curriculum of outdoor learning or as a forest school offering.

If not, and you work in an education setting, talk to your leadership team to see if they are prepared to support outdoor learning on that day.

As a parent, grandparent, carer, youth leader or childminder, there are plenty of things you can do to get outdoors and benefit from joining in with this movement. For example:

  • Use one of our scavenger hunts
  • Try geocaching or orienteering
  • Go to an outdoor performance like a play or music festival or production
  • Get into the garden to do some weeding, planting or tidying up
  • Build a bug hotel (there are instructions here)
  • Go rockpooling or pond-dipping

Or sit outside and listen to birdsong. What sounds can you hear? Can you write about those in a poem or put them in a story? Can you draw them? Creativity is just as valuable as playing in the mud!

What are the benefits of learning outdoors?

The practice of outdoor learning is not a new one and there is evidence from around the world that shows the powerful impact it has on students and teachers:

  • 97% of teachers say that outdoor play is critical for children to reach their full potential.
  • 88% of teachers say that children are happier after playing outdoors.
  • 88% of teachers say that children are more engaged in learning when taking lessons outdoors.
  • 86% of teachers say that playing outdoors gives children a better understanding of the environment.
  • 44% of teachers have increased outdoor learning since getting involved in Outdoor Classroom Day.*

Being outdoors improves feelings of well-being, improves our connection to our local environment and creates healthy habits for the future.

If you have ever taken learning outside, even just once, you don’t need the statistics. You’ve seen it, felt it, lived it. Back in 2011, Anna Portch felt it too, so strongly that she founded the Outdoor Classroom Day movement to inspire and encourage more schools to give outdoor learning a go.

From there, it has grown into an international campaign — almost 10 million children have taken part in the days of action so far.

If you’re new to outdoor learning and providing enriched playtimes, why not use the day to give it a go? Or if they are part of your normal week, why not use the day to celebrate what you’re doing already and encourage other schools in your area to join in?

Whatever you decide to do, get started on your outdoor adventure on Outdoor Classroom Day and prepare to be amazed.

Join the movement today by signing up your class — or whole school — at 

*Source: Muddy hands report, 2018.

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