More than 345,000 in 52 countries have already signed up to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day on 18 May - a record number of nurseries and schools. More than 150,000 UK children have signed up so far.
The initiative started in 2012 with only a handful of schools in London celebrating outdoor learning as part of a new campaign called Empty Classroom Day.
Now an annual event, the organisers say that the campaign is designed to raise awareness of the fact that spending time outdoors is not just good for health and wellbeing, but also has strong links to improved attention and concentration, increased productivity and learning, better behaviour, and more positive relationships between adults and children.
By 2015 more than 600 schools in 15 countries were involved. In 2016, Unilever’s 'Dirt is Good' team joined the campaign’s founders to take the movement global, in partnership with the social enterprise Project Dirt. With advice from school leaders, play experts and others, the movement became Outdoor Classroom Day.
Juno Hollyhock, chief executive at Learning through Landscapes, which is leading the campaign in the UK and Ireland, said, ‘The real aim of Outdoor Classroom Day is to inspire the world by letting children and adults experience the true benefits of outdoor learning and play.
'No matter where you are in the world, learning outdoors will help children focus, it will boost their creativity and enhance their imagination - and it’s also more fun! Whether its play, maths, music, science, art, drama or a language - being outdoors makes learning truly memorable and adds to the enjoyment of childhood.’
To inspire nurseries and schools to participate, organisers of Outdoor Classroom Day have made free materials and resources available. Put together by industry professionals, these resources aim to encourage and provide a safe and supportive framework for nurseries and schools to teach outside.
Nurseries, schools and parents can get involved by signing up on the Outdoor Classroom Day website and downloading letters, posters and tips on how to join in.