Outdoor Classroom Day is coming up on May 18 so mark your calendars! There are two official days each year to encourage schools to prioritise outdoor learning for their pupils. You can sign up online or just get stuck in. Of course, you can head outside any day of the week, but it’s helpful to raise the profile of outdoor learning and remind everyone of its power. 


A canopy classroom installed by SOuL. Perfect for Outdoor Classroom Day.


We know that the summer term is a busy one. Between exams, school trips and lots of bank holidays there is limited time left for extra planning and activities for many teachers. So, we have six simple suggestions for you to embrace Outdoor Classroom Day this spring with very little, if any, extra work. 


Hold an outdoor assembly

Do you hold a particular assembly inside each week? Well, this is a great opportunity to mix things up. Take it outside into the playground or other outdoor space at your school. The children will appreciate the fresh air and change in routine, and you will have started the day as you mean to go on – outdoors!



A couple of things to consider before you head out for assembly:


Take reading outside

There is reading time built into most school curriculum for all ages. From Early Years who listen to a teacher read them a picture book to GCSE pupils reading through a scene of Shakespeare. There are also plenty of slots allocated to quiet, independent reading time. So, could you take some of this brilliant reading outside? As long as the weather is kind, a class of pupils could pick up their books and step outdoors to read. There is little more idyllic than reading under the shade of a tree, right?!


A couple of things to consider before you head to read:


Have an open air snack of lunch

We all have to eat so why not take a snack or a meal outside? The daily piece of fruit or carton of milk most children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 enjoy will taste even better outdoors! Head out and give the children the room and freedom to socialise together outdoors as they eat. 


Take it one step further and head out for lunch too, many food service companies will provide a picnic lunch bag for students. The children who bring their own lunch to school are already primed for this! Have a giant school picnic or sit by class in smaller groups. Whichever you choose, it’s a lovely way to get everyone out to enjoy each other’s company and the fresh air. 



A couple of things to consider before you head to eat:


Plan an extended break or playtime

Allow for a longer break or playtime for pupils and encourage them to spend time outside. Plenty of schools do this anyway as a reward for good class behaviour and while it’s nice that children are getting outside, it feels sad to us that it’s only when children are “good” that they get this extra outdoors time. Let’s flip the narrative on this and give the children more time to play or hang out outside, just because. Trust us, it’s going to be good for them and you when they return happy and with improved focus to your classroom. Outdoor Classroom Day can also include play and hang out time, don’t forget this is beneficial for your pupils too. 


Photo credit to Campbell College


A couple of things to consider before you plan a longer break:


Teach an “indoor lesson” outside

There’s no reason why most regularly taught “indoor lessons” can’t head outside. More often than not, you can even use the same lesson plan with just a few adaptations. Can you take improvisation exercises from a Drama lesson outside for example? What about science, maths and geography? Their concepts so often directly connect with nature and the real world. There are endless possibilities for lessons to take place outside, have a think and let us know what you come up with



A couple of things to consider before you go out:


Hold an outdoor revision session 

With GCSEs and A-Levels on the horizon for older pupils, the focus has shifted to revision and exam prep for many. We know teachers host timetabled and drop in revision sessions for pupils, could any of these take place outside? More often than not, a change of scenery and a dose of fresh air can ease stress and improve focus. So, take pupils outside to revise, support them and still cover the all important content.



A couple of things to consider before you go out:


Every day outdoors counts

Now, you already know we are strong proponents of outdoor learning at school. So much so that we believe every day should be Outdoor Classroom Day. These ideas will work all year round and all it takes is a desire to get outside. You can plan as much or little as you like for outdoor learning and each time you go out it can look different. The most important thing is that pupils are going outside. That’s it. The more time they spend outdoors the better for their wellbeing, their capacity to learn and our planet. Have fun out there!