We love the outdoors at Lansdowne and we are big believers in the environment being the third teacher – the joy, happiness and engagement that the outdoors brings to learning is palpable at our school. When we move teaching outside children become naturally excited to learn, behaviour changes, and children use the critical skills of problem solving, team work and creativity. We have much evidence that our children love learning outdoors– after outdoor day in 2016, children reported their outdoor maths lessons as the “best maths lessons ever”. In 2017, outdoor classroom day on Knocklofty was described by many as “the best day of my whole life”. A recent trip with the digi-tech photography group to the frog ponds elicited many happy comments including “this is so special being up here, we will have to come up more often”.
Deliberately, we have resisted the move to program structured activities during recess and lunch times. People new to our school will ask, where are the lunch time inside sessions? The coding clubs for example.
We say, quite simply….our children love to be outside, they love to run, to play, to dig, to engage in imaginary games, to build and to compete, to dance, spin, twist in the air, pick up sticks, climb, fall over, pick flowers, create stories, lie down and look at the sky, roll in the grass, get muddy, chase, hide, catch, sink baskets, make mud pies and swing. And while we can, we are staying outdoors.
There are no fences at Lansdowne – yet no one runs away. And it is not all frenetic physical activity. There is imaginary play for some while others simply sit and read and draw happily, chatting quietly around the tables, on the stairs or under trees.
The outdoors classroom website we connect with - https://outdoorclassroomday.com.au - reports “It’s a fact that 90% of adults played outside as children – and now, generally, its 30% of children.”
Well, not our children – because 100% of them (more than 400) play outside every-day, before school, at recess and again at lunch – and most often, after school as well.
“Being outdoors helps children focus, boosts creativity and is so much fun. Children who have the freedom to play outside - making friends, getting lost in the moment and having fun, are better prepared for whatever tomorrow throws at them”.
“Playing helps children build friendships, test their own boundaries and solve their own problems.”
But really…its outdoor classroom day every-day at Lansdowne. The lucky children of West Hobart getting to enjoy the beautiful recreation grounds every day that they come to school…finding joy, happiness and excitement in learning in the outdoors.