Education outdoors vital for development
Outside learning advocates say Finnish students are required to be outside for 15 minutes every hour of the school day and they routinely outrank Australia and other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in maths, science, reading and wellbeing indicators.
Last week, seven Geraldton schools with more than 1000 students decided to follow Finland’s lead and participate in Outdoor Classroom Day when students spent the day learning outside.
The State’s leading campaigner for outdoor learning, Nature Play WA, suggests only 15 per cent of Australian primary school students have daily outdoor lessons and roughly 85 per cent of parents believe outdoor play is good for children.
In Australia, about 2000 schools committed to outdoor learning on November 1, including 544 in WA.
Participating local schools included Wandina, Allendale, Rangeway, St Francis Xavier, Mount Tarcoola and Yuna primary schools, as well as all-ages institution the Holland Street School.
Wandina Primary School students with teacher Carolyn Couper.
Carolyn Couper outdoors with early childhood students at play.