“Green Classroom” – the concept for practical learning in the open air!

10. January 2019

When asked about a “green classroom”, everyone probably first thinks of a generous colour scheme in the school building. But the Green Classroom does not take place indoors. It is a concept according to which lessons are held in nature, outdoors. Whether biology, physics or mathematics – the Green Classroom approaches promotion in an interdisciplinary and holistic way, outdoors and with awareness for the environment.

Table of contents

Teaching environmental awareness through interaction with nature

The idea behind the Green Classroom is to raise awareness for the environment and teach children first approaches to environmental protection. It is relevant for all of our futures to recognise ecological connections and deal critically with ecological problems. So whether it’s school or kindergarten, the Green Classroom teaches the little one’s mindfulness that will benefit them throughout their lives. In addition, the pupils’ receptiveness is increased – learning is much more enjoyable thanks to the change of location, and practical research and investigation is a nice change from everyday teaching.

The Green Classroom in schools, kindergartens and daycare centres

Many schools, both primary and secondary, have “installed” a Green Classroom in very different ways. The diversity is great. After all, not every school has the same amount of space. Sometimes there are more, sometimes fewer teachers who can look after the designated piece of land, and the focus is set differently. Some use the existing biotope, and others have a large vegetable garden. Or there is an almost professional experimental laboratory with a greenhouse and the like. There are many “Green Classroom” ideas! Of course, the most successful and fun way is to involve the pupils from the very beginning. The same applies to kindergartens and daycare centres. Here, however, educators must pay attention to the different abilities and prerequisites for smaller children.

Where can you find a Green Classroom?

But what if your own school does not (yet) have a Green Classroom? Companies, state and national garden shows, municipalities, cities and communities offer similar concepts to children and parents. Especially at garden shows, the Green Classroom has a long tradition! Here, gardeners and landscapers can plan and design even more freely (and usually with a little more budget) to awaken new enthusiasm for the environment in children, young people and adults.

Waldorf school and Green Classroom

In Waldorf schools, the concept of children being educated and taught ecologically in a practical and self-reliant way has long been integrated. There is even a separate subject for it: horticulture. This is intended to show children directly in their interaction with nature how plants thrive through their efforts or die if neglected. Children from the sixth to the eighth grade gain practical and theoretical knowledge about planting and caring for beds. At the same time, the pupils actively create new habitats for both plants and animals. By sowing vegetables or planting fruit trees, children learn about where our food actually comes from. The older pupils are also taught about gardening and landscaping.

The history of origins

The Green Classroom was launched as an official project of UNESCO’s “World Decade for Sustainable Development” in 2008/2009, 2010/2011 and 2012/2013.

Social aspects in the Green Classroom

Even in top management, it is known that a change of location, preferably to the outdoors, can do wonders for serious problems in cooperation. It is no different with children. When people work together, get a project off the ground or enjoy the hard-earned harvest, conflicts are more easily eliminated – or they don’t arise in the first place. Even pupils who withdraw into a passive attitude in frontal teaching can suddenly display a whole new, motivated attitude when working with spade and shovel, sowing and watering, and literally bury the frustration of everyday school life.

Read more: Outdoor education enables children to gain elementary experiences of nature. Why are these so important for their development?

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