Virtual learning is not adequate for many working families and students due to the lack of technology access. Millions of students have to sit in front of the computers at their homes to begin this school year. However, some education advocates are considering outdoor learning as a solution to reopen schools amid coronavirus pandemic.
Allegra Inganni, the School Age Program Director of the Child Educational Center, said, “Our focus on the outdoors is even more critical now than it has been.” The Child Educational Center is a private non-profit organization that is working on a childcare program based on the outdoors for decades. Ellen Veselack, the director of the Child Educational Center’s preschool program, said, “It’s everything! Children are happier, they are healthier.”
According to the stats, there are fewer chances of getting sick if children spend more time outside. Veselack said that outdoor learning was beneficial for the physical and cognitive health of children. “It’s not just young children who do better outside, there’s a whole host of research about the benefits of nature for us as adults,” Veselack added.
The Child Educational Center is also working on the Outdoor Classroom Project. This project is developed to help schools and other childcare centers to embrace outdoor learning activities. Veselack said that the school districts could do amazing things in this regard. It is easy to practice social distancing in outdoor classes. Thus, it will reduce the risk of getting infected from the coronavirus.
Green Schoolyards America is another outdoor-education advocacy group working on outdoor learning. It works with school districts and public agencies to develop green spaces in schools. They currently launched a COVID-19 initiative to help schools develop cost-effective strategies to reopen outside. Outdoor learning is a challenging task for communities having severe weather conditions.