School’s out: Outdoor Classroom Day getting kids back to nature

  • Outdoor Classroom Day held internationally today to inspire outdoor learning and play
  • 52,500 students, from over a third of WA primary schools, taking part
  • McGowan Government provides strong support to Nature Play WA, with $1.35 million funding allocated for 2018-21

More than a third of all Western Australian primary schools will take classes outside today as part of Outdoor Classroom Day, an international campaign to promote and celebrate outdoor learning and play.

Outdoor Classroom Day was run for the first time in Australia last year, and this year more than 52,500 WA school kids – from more than 35 per cent of WA primary schools – are registered to participate, with a number of early learning centres also involved.

Lessons will be held in local parks and playgrounds across the State – all the way from Bremer Bay Primary School in the Great Southern to Kununurra District High School in the Kimberley.

Outdoor learning has been shown to improve behaviour and learning outcomes in children, as well as helping to connect them to the outdoors and encourage healthy, unstructured outdoor play.

Delivered by Nature Play WA, in partnership with seven other organisations and with support from the Department of Education, the day is designed to act as a catalyst for getting young people to spend more time outdoors.

Nature Play WA will receive $1.35 million in State Government funding from 2018-21, supporting their important role in increasing the amount of time WA children spend in unstructured play outdoors.

As stated by Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:

“Outdoor Classroom Day is a fantastic way to get kids out into nature and has clearly proven popular, with one third of WA primary school students participating in what is only the event’s second year.

“Playing outdoors and in nature was a big part of my childhood – and it’s a shame to see the younger generations missing out on the life skills, resilience and physical and mental health benefits that come with outdoor play.

“Today is an excellent opportunity for children to get out and enjoy learning while soaking up the benefits of the great outdoors.”

As stated by Nature Play WA CEO Griffin Longley:

“The research shows that outdoor learning and play helps kids learn, be more active and healthy, and increases their chances of being environmental stewards of the future.

“It really is something that impacts almost every aspect of children’s lives and development, so it is great to see a linked-up approach to it with support for the campaign coming from the State Government across the sport and recreation, education, and environment portfolios.

“And the huge number of schools and early learning centres that are taking part in the campaign is a clear sign that the WA community is right behind a return to outdoor learning and play as part of every day, for every kid.”

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