Canberra kids trade books for bugs!

Released 07/09/2017

More than 60 schools and early learning centres across Canberra have taken part in Australia’s first national celebration of Outdoor Classroom Day.

As part of our local celebration of Outdoor Classroom Day I had the opportunity to join with more than 200 children from six schools at the National Arboretum where they engaged in a range of creative, fun outdoor learning opportunities.

We know that too many children (and their parents) are leading sedentary lives, where physical activity and play has been replaced with TV and mobile devices. Through Nature Play CBR we are committed to encouraging healthy habits to make sure our kids connect with and understand the world around them, embracing all the benefits that playing and learning in nature offers.

When kids are outside playing, it not only benefits their health, but their mental well-being, their creativity and capacity to learn.

We have the best environment in the ACT. We have so many parks and bushland areas for people to explore. I encourage parents and children to get out and enjoy these spaces.

Outdoor play and learning is not something that is confined to after the bell rings, the weekend or to school holidays. Outdoor learning can easily be a part of the school day, complementing and supporting the curriculum. When children are outdoors it inspires them, they are more motivated, physically active and have an increased appetite to learn.

It also doesn’t need to be an organised activity. Get out, go for a walk, sit under a tree or do something a little bit different – learning doesn’t always have to happen indoors.

In my role as Minister for Education I know there are many schools and teachers in the ACT that are already embracing outdoor learning. Outdoor Classroom Day is a great opportunity to celebrate this, while also creating broader awareness of the benefits of learning outside of the classroom and how achievable it is to embrace outdoor learning every day.

Today’s central event at the National Arboretum wasn’t just a fun day out for kids, it was a professional development opportunity for teachers, as their classes were treated to lessons run by local community organisations including the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, ACT Frogwatch, ACT Waterwatch, Molonglo Catchment Group, the Tree Detectives and ACT for Bees.

Outdoor Classroom Day in Canberra has been part of a national day of celebration, with more than 60 local primary schools and early learning centres joining in excess of 1500 across Australia.

I encourage all parents, teachers and students to check out the great resources Nature Play CBR has available at, and for lesson plans and more about this international movement visit

Photo: Minister Berry joins a water and sustainability lesson on water bugs as part of Outdoor Classroom Day at the National Arboretum.

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Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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