Woodlands, countryside and parks have become out of bounds to a generation of ‘cotton-wool kids’ with fewer than 10 per cent playing in such places.* Many children, particularly those from disadvantaged urban areas, have no contact with nature at all.
The outside classroom can offer pupils a field trip on their doorstep... everyday.
In a survey of schools that improved their grounds with LTL support, 88 per cent said it resulted in MORE creative learning and environmental awareness.**
Outdoors, the impact of changing seasons assumes greater significance and children can learn to take care of nature, from growing food to designing wildlife habitats. The creation of natural environments in school grounds means that everyone gets to enjoy and to value nature as well as take responsibility for it. And children who value nature are more likely to become adults who act to preserve it.
* Report to Natural England on Childhood and Nature: a survey on changing relationships with nature across generations. March 2009. Read the survey.
** From a survey of teachers whose schools participated in LTL’s RBS Supergrounds programme. Read the RBS Supergrounds evaluation.
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"Although children had learned about environment issues at school, it was clear that they gained richer learning from direct experience."
A child's place: why environment matters to children, a Green Alliance/Demos report