In Collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network, the Arkansas Environmental Education Association (AEEA) has launched a pledge campaign called Outside for 5 encouraging teachers and educators to engage in outdoor learning for at least five minutes a day, five days a week, or any meaningful amount of time.
The Outside for 5 campaign was developed in response to the pandemic-related decline in youth mental health and the associated impact on classroom educators who have faced increased levels of burnout. With many students and teachers returning to school after a chaotic two years, the campaign is focused on engaging school communities in outdoor learning as a way to provide a more enriching and healthy learning environment.
There is a large and growing body of evidence-based research that demonstrates the benefits of outdoor learning for mental health and well-being, stress reduction, physical health, student engagement, and academic success. Outdoor educational experiences also offer schools an opportunity to ignite learning, which addresses both social and emotional well-being as well as learning loss.
“Our goal with this campaign is to inspire educators to think outside the box when it comes to enhancing the social-emotional wellness of their students, each other, and their entire school community,” said Sarah Bodor, NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations. “We want kids to get outside and experience the benefits of nature’s classroom.”
AEEA invites educators of all grade levels to sign the Outside for 5 pledge online at www.outsidefor5.com and commit to spending at least 5 minutes a day outside with their students. Whether that means teaching a classroom lesson outside, studying the local ecosystem, or taking a short walk across the school campus, everyone can benefit from going Outside for 5.
Arkansas teachers can find community partners, field trip opportunities, and guest speakers who can support outdoor learning through the Arkansas EE Directory.
To sign the pledge and learn more about the Outside for 5 campaign, visit www.outsidefor5.com.