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Less time outside than a prisoner

75% of UK children spend less time outdoors than prisoners, with many spending under 16 minutes outside each day.

This increasing disconnect between our youngest generation and the natural world is leaving children without the knowledge or the motivation to take action for nature. Children are also missing out on the mental health benefits that spending time outside provides.

Schools have an incredible potential to reverse this separation by making sure children spend more time outside, reconnecting them with nature, teaching them how to protect it, and giving their mental health a boost.

Sadly, many teachers are not confident about teaching outside, especially when it isn’t always clear how it aligns with the national curriculum.

At Earthwatch, we are giving educators the skills and confidence to take learning outside the classroom and into nature, showing them that it can support the curriculum and give children more transferable skills.

This week, we are raising the funds to train 24 more teachers. And for these 7 days only, your donation to Earthwatch will be doubled. So please, donate now and help us make sure the next generation is inspired and empowered to protect our planet!

If you’re still not convinced how important outdoor learning is for making sure children are inspired to take environmental action, then read on - we’ve quizzed Danielle Self, a teacher who attended one of our training days, called a Hub Day, on why it is so important to train teachers to take lessons outside.

What motivated you to attend the Hub Day?

Attending the Hub day was a great way of gaining new, fresh ideas to take back to our new school and share with new and old colleagues.

Why do you think it’s important that students learn outdoors in schools?

Some children spend too much time on hand held devices and not enough time outdoors. It is important for them to know about their locality, to spend time learning about nature hands-on rather than looking at a screen or at it through a window. Children need to be outdoors in fresh air and sometimes this isn’t an option when they go home so it is important for us to provide opportunities for this in school. Opportunities outdoors in school will leave children with memories that they will have for a long time.

What impact do you think it has on students?

Students appreciate the outdoors more when they have a greater understanding about it, which in turn will help us and them to look after the environment, becoming more active global citizens in the future. Children could see that being outdoors keeps them happy and healthy too. Also if they are outdoors, they are usually with someone else so it means their social skills, problem solving and creativity skills and language and literacy skills are also being developed. If children learn outdoors, they may be encouraged to then seek jobs like this when they are older.

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