BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 06 Nov '19

Youth-led environmental programme is calling for young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day

Our Bright Future, a partnership of 31 projects across the UK, is calling for young people to spend an hour of their school day outdoors this Thursday (07 Nov), in order to improve wellbeing and engage with nature.

Studies have shown that increasing time spent outdoors reduces children’s infectious diseases, such as colds and sore throats, by 80%. However, three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.

Children from families with lower incomes tend to have fewer opportunities to engage with nature than children from families with a higher income. This makes their need for improved access to nature through the school curriculum significantly greater.

Learning in nature

Following consultation with 300 young people from across the programme, Our Bright Future found that 11- to 24-year-olds wanted to campaign for more time spent learning in and about nature.

To make this a reality, the programme is calling on policymakers to produce guidance to schools stating that at least an hour of lesson time per day should be spent outdoors.

‘There are endless activities that schools can do outdoors. From species surveys in science to sustainable sculptures in art. Something as simple as going for a walk in your local green space can really improve your wellbeing. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and you don’t have to go far. Everyone can get involved.

‘The initiative has also been backed by education professionals. A Belfast-based teacher, whose school is involved with a local Our Bright Future project, said: “Students have a greater understanding of what is right on their doorstep. They have gained respect for wild places and the animals that live there.’

ROBERTA ANTONACI
Policy and campaigns manager at Our Bright Future


It is expected that schools right across the UK will get involved with Thursday’s Outdoor Classroom Day.