“Learning in, and about, nature is critical at this time on our planet and for growing a healthy human who can thrive emotionally, cognitively, and physically.” 

~ Monica Woods, AEEA Board Member and Program Manager for Growing Urban Farmers at St. Joseph Center

The Arkansas Environmental Education Association (AEEA), in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network, has relaunched an awareness and 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. 

Studies show that outdoor learning can help children increase attention, be more motivated to learn, and control impulses more effectively. The outdoors are great for learning!   

  • The outdoors can be an outlet to release complex emotions for kids. This allows kids to interact and cooperate with their peers more effectively.
  • Experts know that learning outdoors improves mental health. When teachers and students connect with the natural world, they experience connection, community, and creativity.
  • By incorporating outdoor and environmental learning into the school day, students’ learning can become more meaningful. Research shows knowledge gains across multiple disciplines, including environmental issues, science, mathematics, and more. 
  • The #OutsideFor5 campaign is designed to inspire and strengthen students’ connections to nature’s classroom.

In recognition of the benefits of learning outdoors, Governor Sanders has declared April 22 – 28, 2024 as Outside for Five Week in Arkansas. AEEA is encouraging educators across the state to sign the pledge and commit to the following:

  • Spend at least 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, or any meaningful amount of time learning outside with students. After an educator takes the Outside for 5 pledge, they’ll receive a series of emails with tips, resources, and other ways to engage with partners for the campaign.
  • Support outdoor learning efforts in schools. Arkansas teachers can find community partners, field trip opportunities, and guest speakers who can support outdoor learning through the Arkansas EE Directory
  • Connect with other local educators and outdoor professionals and help spread the word by sharing AEEA’s #Outsidefor5 posts on Facebook and Instagram throughout April.

Visit OutsideFor5.com to take the pledge and explore ways to support the social-emotional wellness of your students and school community.  

Learn more about the many ways we can support outdoor learning throughout the year in this resource, Thriving Schools: Using Outdoor and Environmental Learning.

Image of flowers and the words stop, smell, and learn.

Become part of a community committed to embracing the outdoors for learning!

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