When Kath Healy from Nature Play WA visited us in the studio yesterday she was very excited. Yesterday was ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’ which is basically like Christmas to the Nature Play team. They get to see their dream become reality as millions of teachers and students move their learning outdoors for the day.
Kath wanted to say a special thank you to all the teachers and educators out there.
“because I sit at my desk and share the news and say ‘get out there’ but it’s really the teachers and the educators and the early years educators who take kids outdoors and do the hard yards. Yeah, so we say thank you.”
So why does Kath get so excited about Outdoor Classroom Day? It’s a movement to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. Outdoor learning improves children’s health, engages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilience, teamwork and creativity, but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood. With increasing pressures on childhood, children today are too often overprotected, over-scheduled, and overly attached to screens. Which is why it’s more crucial than ever before to help get children outdoors.
and there is of course science to back it all up!
Earlier this week the University of British Columbia release their study that found “teens, especially girls, have better mental health when they spend more time taking part in extracurricular activities, like sports and art, and less time in front of screens. ”
If they’re spending time on creative pursuits or active pursuits, then, one, they have less screen time. But secondly, there’s a multiplying effect. So if you spend less than two hours a day on screens, there’s already a mental health benefit for teens. So when you add extracurricular physical or creative activity on top, you actually amplify the mental health benefits there.
Girls are more negatively affected than boys
Accordingly to the study taking part in extracurricular activities was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and optimism, and lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptom. Interestingly there are differences among boys and girls, with longer screen time negatively affecting girls’ mental health more significantly than boys. You can read the report by UBC here.
Kath Healy joins The Breakfast Show every second Friday after 8:30am.