Nature makes children happy: why outdoor learning is important This week is National Tree Week, an annual celebration of all things tree, and the perfect opportunity to emphasise the value and sheer joy of outdoor education. Being outdoors, and being around trees especially, is good for the soul at any age, but it’s especially important for our youngsters. Research shows that within minutes of being surrounded by trees, blood pressure drops, heart rate slows and stress levels reduce. In short, trees make us happier. Mosaic is a new education programme by the Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT), which utilises the benefits of outdoor education to help primary school pupils piece together the farming and wildlife mosaic, in the heart of the Surrey countryside. While the school curriculum encourages and supports outdoor learning, it is a shame that with each year group there are progressively fewer opportunities to access learning in nature. This is a missed opportunity when we consider that children are more attentive, remember their lessons better and simply have more fun when they are outside. In 2016 Natural England released the results of a four-year initiative to help school children experience the benefits of the natural environment by empowering teachers to make the most of opportunities to take the class outside. This project provided strong evidence that outdoor learning carries multiple benefits. 92% of teachers said that pupils were more engaged and 85% saw a positive impact on their behaviour. Similarly, 92% of pupils said they enjoyed their lessons and 90% felt happier and healthier. The evidence couldn’t be more conclusive. We’re all unique, and not every child is suited to a classroom environment. Getting outdoors helps these children to level up their attainment and engage positively with school. Kinaesthetic – or tactile – learners are people who benefit from experiencing or doing things. For these types of pupils, it is better to have the opportunity to see, smell and touch a plant rather than merely look at a picture on a screen. It is better to nurture a plant from soil to seed to germination, than to cut and paste the lifecycle of plant into an exercise book. The CRT’s Mosaic education programme is designed to make the most of the undeniable relationship between health, wellbeing and education. Nature is a free resource that I use as an educator to help classes decrease stress and anxiety, elevate mood, encourage teamwork and improve social skills. Nature also increases pupils’ creativity and problem-solving skills. By attending a Mosaic school trip, students will learn a thing or two about farming and wildlife as well. Just in time for National Tree Week, I am delighted that our woodland classroom at Pierrepont Farm is now complete and ready to host excited school children throughout the year. Visit Mosaic for more information.