Outdoor Classroom Day 2017

They got dirty, they had fun, they played, they learned!


On September the 7th - more than 200,000 Aussie kids had something in common with more than two million children worldwide – they all took part in Outdoor Classroom Day. In Western Australia 29,000 kids from almost 300 schools and early learning centres around the State participated.

Our target was 50,000 kids Australia-wide but, thanks to you all, mums, dads, teachers, friends of Nature Play – we beat that by 400 per cent!

Outdoor Classroom Day, powered by OMO (get the kids dirty for a good cause and then clean them up – genius!) has been running in the UK since 2011 but this year was a first for Australia.  It is part of the Dirt is Good Campaign – run by the UK-based Project Dirt Team and delivered in Australia by Nature Play WA and our sister organisations in South Australia, Queensland and the ACT.

In Western Australia we had kids from schools from Esperance and Kalgoorlie in the East, to Halls Creek in the North, from the centre of the CBD in Perth to the smallest schools in rural WA take part.

At these school kids took a break from the desk and the white board and got outside for lessons in nature, with many schools spending the entire day outside!

The biggest event of the day was held at Perry Lakes Reserve where 300 kids from ten schools got together to learn in nature.  The day began with the construction of a giant spider web, spun between 20 trees and across an area bigger than a soccer pitch! The kids then rotated through activities aimed at making lessons come to life though play outside. Thanks to Lockridge PS, Meadow Springs PS, Walliston PS, Rockingham Beach Education Support Centre, Dalkeith PS, Jolimont PS, Pearsall PS, Rossmoyne PS, Rehoboth Christian College and Bold Park Community School students and teachers for making the day fun and educational.

Why an Outdoor Classroom Day?

There are so many reasons.

On the negative side research has found children spend way too much time indoors - 7 in 10 parents face challenges in getting their kids to play outside.  There's concern students are at risk of lacking fundamental 'success skills' to overcome and adapt to challenges.

When asked what they value most about their play time, Aussie primary school kids ranked their iPad or games console as the things they enjoy most about their day, more than playing with friends outdoors. 

On the positive side the majority of parents and kids say they would like more classes to take place in the sunshine. Research also tells us children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth. Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills.

Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other, bullying behaviour is greatly reduced where children have access to diverse nature-based play environments, and symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder are reduced after contact with nature.

When kids spend time learning outdoors, everyone wins!

So thank you to all that helped make Outdoor Classroom Day a success and a big thank you in advance to all of you who will help us make Outdoor Classroom Day 2018 even bigger!

View our Outdoor Classroom Day photo gallery for more great pics!

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