Lockdown outdoors news
News, articles & blogs on access to nature and outdoor play & learning during and after lockdown 2020.
Arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top
COVID-19 & Forest School: statement from the Forest School Association
Periodically updated statement from the FSA addressing the affect of lockdown measures on Forest School provision. Comments on & links to government guidance. FSA members can access a tool to support their risk assessments & adherence to guidelines.
Outdoor Learning in the news
'Some of the most recent and relevant media coverage related to outdoor learning as an asset to school districts’ COVID-19 response.' A very comprehensive list of articles in (mainly) US media, in sections including 'outdoor learning during a pandemic', and 'what is needed to reopen schools?'
Green Schoolyards America (US)
The great outdoors: COVID-19-compatible learning experiences for all
'Growing Up Boulder (GUB) ... finding innovative ways to bring children back to school safely during COVID-19 times: through outdoor learning. Using creative outreach methods, GUB is working directly with Latinx parents and with classes of elementary school students ... to co-create outdoor learning experiences ... responsive to their learning and other needs.'
University of Colorado Boulder (US), 3 November 2020.
Will the Outdoors Become the New Classroom of the COVID Era?
'Outdoor learning can slash the odds that in-person classes will put staff or students at risk of contracting the coronavirus. A national coalition is developing guidelines and resources to help schools in any climate.' Governing (US), 25 August 2020
The Push to Move Classrooms Outdoors Is Gaining Momentum
Looking at why schools in New York and across America are looking to outdoor schooling.
Intelligencer (US) 29 July 2020
Outdoor classrooms could improve student mental health
‘As the nation’s school districts plan strategies to keep students safe when schools reopen for the 2020-21 school year, repurposing outdoor areas as learning spaces is getting growing support from parents and others.’
Multibriefs (US), 9 July 2020
Mya-Rose Craig: ‘Young people need to see someone like them who is into nature’
‘The 18-year-old birder and environmentalist on improving diversity in her field and how the pandemic has affected the natural world.’
The Guardian, 7 July 2020
Could outdoor learning be the answer to social distancing?
“Some of the answers [to social distancing & hygiene] lie in outdoor learning, a practice that is already the norm in many Hammersmith & Fulham schools. The concept could help headteachers develop plans for their schools to meet government and NHS guidance.” Examples of what primary & secondary schools in London are doing.
Hammersmith & Fulham news, 3 July 2020
Why Outdoor Education May Be the Key to Reopening Schools Safely
An Improvement, Not a Detraction: How Outdoor Education Could Work. ‘A swift move into outdoor learning may well be the only way that school districts can reopen safely with maximum enrollment while minimizing risk … A cascade of physical, emotional and academic benefits accompany even basic outdoor activities, like recess. For purposefully built models of outdoor and experiential learning, the results are even greater’.
Bioneers (US), 3 July 2020
Outdoor play is key to reopening and recovery
“Getting children back in school doesn’t have to mean a rush into the classroom, and access to outdoor play and learning should be an entitlement, not a privilege, write Marguerite Hunter Blair and Anita Grant, Chief Executive, Play Scotland and Chair of Trustees, Play England.”
Schools Week, 1 July 2020
‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ Is Really a Thing
'Children’s behavior may suffer from lack of access to outdoor space, a problem heightened by the pandemic.' With statements from a variety of experts from different disciplines.
New York Times (US), 23 June 2020
Forest School and Social Distancing
An inspiring blog summing up the first week’s return to school – how bubbles and social distancing have been implemented in an outdoor environment – and considering some of the problems to be solved, and how Forest School principles have needed to be adapted for the current climate.
Mama Beech, June 19, 2020
Other recommended reading form the Mama Beech blog
Pandemic Possibilities Outdoors?
“One hundred years ago, amidst prevalent airborne respiratory diseases …. the very popular Open Air Movement gave great attention to … large amounts of time in cool, fresh air.” Kathryn Solly asks “asks what can we learn from a history of learning in the open air that spanned over 40 years of schooling in the UK?”
On Jan White’s Early Childhood Outdoors (ECO) blog, 12 June 2020
Other articles related to the one above
- See The Forgotten Open Air Schools, Designed To Battle Tuberculosis During The 1930’S, Media Drum World, 21 July 2020
- Bring Back the Open Air School, Treehugger, 20 July 2020
- Flashback: In the fight against tuberculosis, open air schools in Chicago took an unorthodox approach: Keep kids outside, even in winter, Chicago Tribune, 1 May 2020
Life after Lockdown in the Early Years Classroom: Embracing Challenges as Opportunities!
“Preparations are underway in Northern Ireland for the reopening of all schools in September 2020 … In this blog, we intend to address some of the obstacles specifically facing the early years phase of education and to offer potential solutions to ensure that the needs and interests of our young children are fully embraced.” Looks at physical protection, hygiene and infection control, standards of learning , and wellbeing.
Stranmills University College, 12 June 2020
Why some Black and Latinx families lose access to nature during pandemic
'For some Black and Latinx families, shelter-in-place orders cut off access to nature. Neighborhoods without open green spaces or parks have been hit the hardest, along with areas where houses lack yards. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black communities, so families like the Robinsons choose to stay inside while the fear of the pandemic lingers.'
KCRW (US), 10 June 2020
Outdoor Classrooms in the Age of COVID-19: Pros and Cons
'Are we going to see more students learning outdoors when they return to school? Some advocates think the answer should be yes.'
Education Week (US), 1 June 2020
Coronavirus: Is it safe for my B.C. kid to play outside with friends?
Q & A looking at risks, guidelines and benefits of children playing outdoors with friends.
City News 1130 (Canada), 26 May 2020
Wild Child by Patrick Barkham – why children need nature
Book review. From blackberry picking to digging a pond … a perfect lockdown reminder of how having fun outdoors is essential for children, in cities as well as the countryside.
The Guardian, 20 May 2020
Coronavirus shows us it’s time to rethink everything. Let’s start with education
George Monbiot argues that a knowledge of ecology is vital. He’s been experimenting with creating an ecological education that ‘places ecology and Earth systems at the heart of learning, just as they are at the heart of life.’
The Guardian, 12 May 2020
BBC ‘Countryfile’ programme features outdoor education
Institute for Outdoor Learning CEO reflects on how the Countryfile feature on the challenges facing outdoor education as a result of the pandemic came about. Includes a link to watch the 9 minute feature online.
12 May 2020
Scotland eyes outdoor learning as model for reopening of schools
“Local authorities are exploring how using outdoor space could optimise physical distancing.”
The Guardian, 11 May 2020
Prioritise play when schools reopen, say mental health experts
“Child mental health experts have urged the government to prioritise children’s play and socialising with friends over formal lessons and academic progress when schools in England reopen and lockdown restrictions are eased.”
The Guardian, 7 May 2020
10 nature activities you can do with kids (while social distancing!)
The benefits of being outside, tips for doing it while social distancing, and an unusual and inspiring list of suggested activities.
Active for Life (Canada), 27 April 2020