The Framework for 21st Century Student Outcomes was developed as a guideline to equip students with the skills, knowledge and expertise they need to succeed in modern day work and life. Evidence demonstrates outdoor learning boosts delivery of all five components of the framework: A healthy and happy body and mind, sociable, confident person, self-directed and creative learner, effective contributor and active global citizen.

A Healthy and Happy Body and Mind

A recent survey by the Natural Connections Demonstration revealed that ninety percent of children reported feeling happier and healthier when learning outside. In addition, over seventy percent of teachers reported a positive impact on their well being.

A 2010 study from the University of Rochester found that spending time outdoors not only makes you happier, it can lead to an increased sense of enthusiasm, aliveness and energy. Learning outdoors has also been found to appease the mind, resulting in lower levels of anxiety and stress.

A Sociable, Confident Person

Outdoor classrooms help develop social skills and leadership skills in young learners. Forest School of England and Wales has conducted extensive research on the impact of outdoor learning on child development. Their findings demonstrate children who spend more time outdoors experience higher levels of well-being and self-confidence. The increase in self-confidence stems from the fact that outdoor learning is less structured than most classroom settings. Children can establish their own rules of play when outside. By learning through discovery, cause and effect, children gain confidence in their own judgment and abilities.

Creating an Outdoor Classroom

Creating an outdoor classroom is easy using commercial shade structures and outdoor commercial picnic tables.

A Self-directed and Creative Learner

Outdoor learning enables independence and imagination. When children are given the freedom to make decisions about their own learning, it is incredibly empowering. The less structured outdoor classroom setting allows children to think more freely and approach the world in innovative ways

An Effective Contributor

A 2004 study by Environmental Education Specialist, Julie Athman, and Associate Professor of Forest Resources and Conservation at University of Florida, Martha C. Monroe, indicated that the use of environment-based education improves achievement motivation in students.

The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEETF) has conducted various case studies on schools using the environment to boost student learning and retention. Findings include improved scores on assessment tests and a significant decline in discipline problems.

An Active Global Citizen

Children who learn and play outside are given the opportunity to better understand their actions and how they impact their surroundings. When children are encouraged to do positive outdoor activities, such as picking up trash in a park, they are learning to be an active global citizen. A child with experience learning and playing outdoors, is also more likely to appreciate and take action to protect his or her environment.

Studies show outdoor learning reaps great benefits for students. In response, many schools are incorporating outdoor studies into their curriculum. Pro Playgrounds recently installed this metal shelter to serve as an outdoor classroom and study area at a school in Tampa, FL. Pro Playgrounds offers a wide selection of recreation and playground equipment designed to help students achieve developmental milestones and spark creative learning. Explore our portfolio for more outdoor learning ideas today.