National campaign calls upon teachers to support student wellness by learning outside
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network, including KAEE, has launched a pledge campaign called Outside for 5 encouraging teachers and educators across the country 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 Kentucky 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.
“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.”
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 and districts an opportunity to ignite learning which addresses both socio and emotional well-being as well as learning loss.
KAEE invites educators of all grade levels to sign the Outside for 5 pledge online at 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.
About the NAAEE Affiliate Network
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network supports the many types of educators who teach concepts we all need to understand: how natural systems work, what we must do to interact responsibly with the environment, and how we can protect natural resources for future generations. We are the largest network of environmental educators in North America. Collectively, we inspire educators, schools, and communities to impact conservation, education, social justice, health and wellness, and positive youth development. Find your Affiliate: https://naaee.org/our-partners/affiliates.