Learning About Forests (LEAF) Outdoor Education Activities for Schools, Using Nature as a Classroom
Learning about Forests’ vision is to see an increased level of awareness and knowledge about the key role forest ecosystems play on our planet. Through its pedagogical process, the programme helps reflect on all the functions forests fulfil; cultural, ecological, economic, and social. Understanding the balance between these functions is crucial when studying how humans can interact sustainably with forests. The LEAF programme rests on the belief that children need to experience nature both for themselves and for society as a whole. Over half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, a fact that strengthens the need to connect with nature even more. A growing body of research in the education field suggests that outdoor learning has many benefits on an educational as well as on a personal level. Furthermore, connecting with nature from an early age has a great effect on children’s sense of responsibility for the environment that surrounds them. LEAF provides opportunities for fieldwork and follow-up of the classroom sessions, especially in science and geography. The significant life experiences the programme provides help in retention as long-term memory and facilitate the transfer and application of knowledge back in the home environment.
This publication contains twenty-three examples of activities that have been implemented all over the world through the Learning about Forest Programme. By collecting and sharing these stories we aim to promote outdoor education inspiring schools and teachers on how to use nature as a classroom.