Thinking outside the box

Water play: Liam Wright, Baden Mellow, Lucas Congdon and Lukas Kort experimenting in the nature play area.
Water play: Liam Wright, Baden Mellow, Lucas Congdon and Lukas Kort experimenting in the nature play area.

St Mark’s College year one students were left with only their imaginations on Thursday when the cohort celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day

The day is celebrated globally on the 7th of September and involves over 15,000 schools who take part in purpose built and natural outdoor play areas. 

Classroom teacher, Kylie Capurso says a significant amount of research has been conducted which explains the benefits and importance of nature play for young students. 

“Learning outdoors builds a greater awareness for the environment and also provides the students with the opportunity to collaborate, share and listen to others”, Ms Capurso said.

The newly opened nature play area at the Benedict Campus allows students from reception to year two to think independently and feel more challenged and excited about learning. 

“Children are more active when they play outdoors and this is essential for their healthy development”, Ms Capurso said. 

The day is an initiative of a handful of London schools who started to celebrate ‘Empty Classroom Day’ in 2012 and now four years later, it has developed into a global movement. 

Students were not guided in their play and a teacher was only required to intervene when a problem arouse.

Brendan Krommendijk, 7, enjoys that his recess and lunch play can be incorporated throughout the classroom day. 

“I built a tent out of wood, but my favourite thing to do is play in the sand pit and build sandcastles”, Brendan said. 

His classmate, Bailey Ferne, 6, spent the afternoon building a birds nest out of an old tray with sticks, twigs, bark and pine cones. 

“I wanted to make something out of nature, so I made a nest for a bird”, Bailey said.