To preserve our natural heritage, restore environmental integrity and protect the landscape, we must ensure that subsequent generations share our commitment to land preservation and stewardship.
To promote relationship with the landscape, the Land Trust of Bucks County supports the development and use of outdoor classrooms throughout Bucks County. An outdoor classroom, or green schoolyard, is a natural or designed landscape directly outside the school buildings that serves as a venue for teaching formal standard-based and informal education across the curriculum.
Closing the Achievement Gap, Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning, 2002, by Lieberman and Hoody, quantifies the impacts of outdoor classrooms on academic achievement.
Studying children in 40 schools in 12 states, research confirmed academic performance improved across the curriculum, critical thinking skills improved, students became aware of diverse viewpoints, discipline problems diminished and problem-solving proficiency improved through enhanced application of systems thinking.
Students’ understanding of ecological concepts became more comprehensive, they formed connections between personal health and ecological integrity and became more aware of their role and responsibilities as global ecological citizens.
More subjective observations of outdoor classroom impacts were increased enthusiasm for learning and teaching, improved health from edible gardens, increased attendance and improved school relationships.
Outdoor classrooms enhance academic performance and ecological literacy and are being implemented in schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Green Schools National Network and Children & Nature Network are sources of information on this innovative approach to living and learning on a finite planet.
LTBC is committed to supporting ecological literacy throughout Bucks County. Our goal is for every child everywhere in Bucks County to have the opportunity to experience nature every day. Outdoor Classrooms are one venue for that opportunity.