National Outdoor Lesson Day: free curriculum

Outdoor classes seem to be slowly being embraced by elementary schools. Green schoolyards are being built and more and more teachers are trying to give outdoor education a place. This is also reflected in the numbers: at this point, more than a quarter of primary schools have already signed up for National Outdoor Lesson Day on April 7. While elementary school children go outside to explore, secondary school students are still mostly inside.

Positive effects on student and teacher

Agnes van den Berg, in a trend analysis of studies on the effects of nature on children, shows that outdoor time and exposure to nature has positive effects on learning performance and contributes to social and cognitive development. Students absorb the material better and find the lesson more enjoyable. These positive effects on students also have a positive effect on the overall atmosphere in the classroom and the teacher. In the Netherlands, teaching is still mainly indoors, especially in secondary education. While the pressure on education is increasing, these positive effects are more desirable than ever.

The good example

Teachers Emin Kececi and Yasin Yaylali advocate for more outdoor classes, even in high school. They directly experience the benefits of teaching outdoors. "Being outside with each other creates connection, in a playful way. It is beautiful how young people learn to know, understand and respect each other in this way." During their own lessons, they like to set a good example, also to the outside world. As ambassadors of the National Outdoor Lesson Day, they encourage secondary and high school teachers to step out of their comfort zone. "School is society in miniature, and this is precisely what takes place outside. Unfortunately, we still don't see many colleagues who, like us, also go out more often, while it brings so many benefits. The atmosphere changes as soon as you leave the classroom. Students feel more at ease and calm. In addition, their motivation increases and afterwards there is not one student who did not like the lesson," says Emin.

All out together

To encourage and support teachers in primary and secondary schools to teach outdoors, the National Outdoor Lesson Day was created. It will take place on Tuesday 7 April. IVN and Jantje Beton, partners behind the National Outdoor Lesson Day, have developed ready-made outdoor lessons together with teachers which fit with the Sustainable Bosatlas which was published last October for secondary education. Schools can register for free.

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