As schools Australia-wide prepare to celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day this Thursday, 1 November, Matthew Flinders Anglican College is planning a fun day of open-air learning.
Flinders’ new Outdoor Classroom opened four months ago, and since then its Primary students from Prep to Year 6 have become familiar with the nature space during class-time and break-time to learn and play.
On Outdoor Classroom Day, Primary School students across all year levels at Flinders will be learning outdoors through engaging and meaningful programs and activities linked to either Mathematics, English or the broad range of other subjects studied.
Head of Primary Trudi Edwards said Outdoor Classroom Day was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of nature for students’ wellbeing, creativity and resilience.
An Outdoor Classroom Day survey found that 88% of teachers globally said that children are happier after playing outdoors, and 89% said the same when they learn outdoors.
“It’s no surprise that research reveals that when children are in an outdoor environment, their learning behaviour shifts and the whole group becomes engaged in learning in ways that are different from in the classroom,” Mrs Edwards said.
“We see this in our students whether they are in our Outdoor Classroom, engaged in sport on our ovals, digging in our College veggie gardens, on one of our outdoor education camps, or swinging on our playground monkey bars,” she said.
“At Flinders, we value the wonderful sense of excitement, creativity and inclusivity when students and teachers are learning together in nature. Nature will always play an important part in our students’ wellbeing and learning at Flinders.”
Mrs Edwards said Flinders students are familiar with the Outdoor Classroom space and enjoy using it for all sorts of learning and play.
Examples of activities experienced in Flinders’ new Outdoor Classroom include the following:
- Lunchtime maker play - lots of students from Years 1-6 come to the space to tinker, create and share ideas. Some students are creating play spaces within the natural environment.
- Maker Club - a weekly co-curricular club where students engage in a design challenge
- Many year levels use the space for design projects that need time, space and are messy. For example, Year 5 made an historical artefact, and Year 4 investigated properties of materials and completed a design challenge.
- Classes have also used it as a meeting place, to practise oral presentations, for reading groups.
- Young children and educators at Flinders Early Learning Centre also visit the space to draw, play and observe the natural surrounds.
Read more about Primary learning at Matthew Flinders Anglican College.