Primary schools across Mandurah take their learning outdoors

Eight Mandurah primary schools packed up their books and took their learning into the sunshine last week for national Outdoor Classroom Day.

More than 1000 students took part across the Peel region as part of the global movement to improve children’s health, well-being and academic progress through outside learning and play.

Oakwood Primary School, Meadow Springs Education Support Centre, Frederick Irwin Anglican School, Mandurah Catholic College, Assumption Catholic Primary, Mandurah Baptist College, Riverside Primary School and Foundation Christian College were among hundreds of WA schools to take their lessons outside on November 1.

Nature Play WA CEO Griffin Longley said finding ways to increase the time kids spend outdoors was becoming increasingly important.

“Modern children spend more time indoors than any other generation in history,” he said.

“But the pendulum is starting to swing back to a more balanced experience of childhood, with more than 2,000 Australian schools and early learning centres getting involved in Outdoor Classroom Day.

“It’s is a chance to celebrate and inspire outdoor play and learning in our schools so it can become part of every day in the future.”

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A recent report found only 55 per cent of Australian kids play outside everyday.

Associate professor Tonia Gray said a growing body of research showed that when children play and learn outdoors, they are calmer, more confident, and more open to learning.

“They also show improvements in social skills, imagination, creativity, teamwork, concentration and behaviour,” she said.

“Yet less than one in six primary school children learn outdoors each day, and two in three spend under an hour playing outdoors every day in Australia.”

Outdoor Classroom Day was launched in Australia in 2017 and has been supported in WA by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Department of Education.

For more information, visit outdoorclassroomday.com.au.