Teaching outside

September 30, 2020

As teaching outside is gaining in popularity across the country, we want to be there to share best practices and support teachers in going outdoors.

In Gatineau, Quebec, students from Pierre Elliott Trudeau primary school attend part of their classes under a big white tent. The school’s principal ordered three tents – at a total cost of $3,000 – this summer for the back-to-school season. In Vancouver and Toronto, media outlets are talking about parents rallying for classes to be brought outdoors.

A 2017 study in Frontiers in Psychology shows that students who participated in an outdoor education program as part of their science curriculum had significantly more intrinsic motivation to learn and had more confidence. This study is just one of many to confirm the positive effects of learning outdoors, all that without even talking about the sanitary benefits.

Though initiatives like that aren’t new in Canada, their rapidly growing popularity is unprecedented. At the Summit, the question we are asking ourselves is: how can we support and amplify the sustainable development of outdoor classes? The first step is clear. We need to come together to share best practices and information. This legitimizes the knowledge and experience acquired over decades of program delivery and gives the outdoor community a common voice. Then, organizations like the Outdoor Council of Canada, the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, EEPSA, COEO and many others can do the much needed representation work towards policy and decision makers so that teachers, parents and students alike can benefit from these methods for years to come.

Want to give us a hand? We are building a database of professional development workshops enabling teachers to bring students outside. If you know of any, please contact us. If you have relevant news or scientific articles, don’t hesitate sending them our way also.

Contact: [email protected]

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