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Benefits of teaching outdoors

"Look what I caught teacher Linda!" The students of elementary school 'T Anker are having break time. A group of girls have gathered at the "critter pond. With their boots on, they stand in the water, looking for salamanders. The light rain doesn't bother them. "Pretty hey, I'm going to catch some more."

April 5 was the national outdoor teaching day. Classes then flock outside, lessons are not limited to the classroom walls this day. This is an initiative organized annually by Jantje Beton and IVN nature education to call attention to using the environment as a teaching place. For Linda Kroeze, teacher of group ¾, going out is no exception. She tries to go outside with the children at least twice a week. What they do varies each time: dictation, math, traffic, language or geography. By now she has come up with an alternative for almost every lesson that can be done in the schoolyard. According to her, there are many pluses to it: "I just notice that the children can work much more concentrated afterwards. Often they don't even realize that they have learned a lot. It sometimes feels like an extra playtime while they have worked hard."

"I so enjoy seeing flowers outside and hearing birds chirping. Then I can learn better than inside."

Via her Instagram page The Green Schoolyard she shares her experiences in outdoor teaching with other teachers. "It's also a bit of a stick for myself but the reactions from other teachers are very cool. That way we help each other a little bit." Olivia is in fourth grade and always looks forward to the moment when she walks out onto the playground with her class again, "I so enjoy seeing flowers outside and hearing birds singing. Then I can also learn better because inside you are so crammed together and outside I am more free." The national outdoor teaching day is a great example of teachers working on sustainability in their own way. "When I thought of sustainability I immediately thought of a climate-neutral building, but of course our green schoolyard and the way we teach fits in with that," Linda says.

The day ends with a traffic lesson. After a theoretical explanation of traffic signs, groups of 3/4 go into the neighborhood to play traffic sign bingo. At each sign Linda explains and they tick the boxes on their bingo cards. "You must be allowed to drive a scooter already, right?", Djim from group 3 asks me as he stops at a priority sign. "You have to know the signs for that, too." So the importance of traffic rules was well conveyed during theory. The streets and bingo cards continue to be scoured for new traffic signs. "I marvel again now at how fanatically they participate," Linda says. "Because of trips like this, they see practice right away. I notice they remember it better and ask different questions as a result." After a tour of the neighborhood, we return, unfortunately without bingo. "So, we've had our exercise for the day as well," Linda says. Another advantage to teaching outside.

You can be a sustainable teacher in many different ways, this way of teaching outdoors is one of many examples. To highlight initiatives like this and share experiences, Learning for Tomorrow organizes the annual Sustainable Teacher Election. If you are or know of such a sustainable teacher please report here for the Sustainable Teacher Election 2022! 







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