Outdoor learning has been shown to have a significant positive impact on students’ mental health. Research indicates that participation in outdoor education programs can lead to an increase in prosocial behaviour and a reduction in hyperactivity-inattention, contributing to overall improved mental health. Furthermore, exposure to nature and outdoor learning environments can support the development of a positive body image, and confidence in physical competence, and combat Nature Deficit Disorder, ultimately boosting mood and well-being.
Additionally, outdoor classrooms have been linked to psychological, cognitive, and physical health benefits for children. Learning in contact with nature is known to reduce anxiety and increase overall sense of well-being. This type of learning also teaches children to have a growth mindset, building confidence and resilience. Notably, an outdoor classroom allows more active or assertive students to better control their emotions, demonstrating the diverse ways in which outdoor education positively impacts students’ mental health.
The value of outdoor learning in promoting students’ mental health cannot be overstated. It offers unique learning opportunities that help students recognize and interact with nature, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being. Therefore, integrating outdoor education and green schoolyards into school curriculums can be a powerful tool in supporting students’ mental health and providing them with a holistic and enriching educational experience.