An abundance of research supports the long-term benefits of outdoor classroom designs for both students and teachers.
Student performance increases when learning outside*
Research shows improved:
- Attention span
- In-school behavior
- Attitude about school
- Standardized test scores
Researchers also attribute enhanced student performance to the increase in tactile and sensory experiences that outdoor education provides.
Outdoor learning promotes health & wellness*
Learning in an outdoor environment increases students’ physical, mental, and social well-being. Studies show that access to the outdoors and learning in a nature-based school environment result in:
- Increased physical activity
- Reduced childhood obesity
- Decreased symptoms of ADHD
- Lowered stress levels in both students and teachers
Learning outside mitigates the transmission of COVID-19
Learning in an outdoor environment allows for social distancing protocols to be followed and respected. Studies also show that COVID-19 and other airborne viruses are far less likely to spread outdoors as it offers improved air circulation and a greater dilution of particles.
Outdoor learning fosters environmental stewardship
Outdoor experiences help students increase their understanding of community and the natural world, which leads to a deeper sense of place. Outdoor learning experiences are the foundation to helping students develop stronger environmental attitudes and civic behaviors. *If you want someone to care for something, they have to love it first.
Outdoor education supports child development
Learning in an outdoor environment supports emotional, behavioral, and intellectual development. Studies show that students who learn outdoors develop a deeper sense of self, independence, confidence, creativity, decision-making, real world problem-solving and empathy towards others.
Learning outdoors is fun
The change of pace and scenery to an outside classroom benefits both students and teachers. Studies show outdoor learning results in increased cortisol levels, better social collaboration, and our favourite bit of research; more laughter and smiles. Furthermore, enthusiasm increases for subjects such as social studies, math, and science when students are taken outside.
*Sources: Evergreen Canada, Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, Project Wild, and Sierra Club.