Recently, we were privileged to enjoy an education symposium with Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, an educator, scholar, and author from Finland. He spoke about what sets the Finnish education system apart from others throughout the world, including ours here in the United States. One of the topics he covered was the amount and the effect of time spent outdoors by students.
In Finland, for every hour of class time, students are given fifteen minutes of free time, usually spent outside…even if it’s 20 degrees or below. This routine recess period allows the student’s mind to absorb what they have been studying during the previous class period, and in the long run, improves their educational experience and amount of information and material absorbed in the school day. The basic concept we pull from this example in Finnish education is that recess time, and/or time spent outdoors during the school day, is not something optional to be cut out or limited based upon studies, but rather, is an integral part of the learning process for students of all ages, and it should be included in the curriculum and daily routine.
Here at All Saints Academy, we strive for excellence in all aspects of educating our students, and that includes pulling from resources such as the recent symposium with Dr. Sahlberg. We enjoy studying and implementing ideas that work well for various education systems, and then we monitor how they impact our classes here at All Saints. For example, as a result of the information we received from Dr. Sahlberg, we are giving our students more time to get the fresh air and freedom that come with time spent outside amidst their studies each day. Starting this week, our middle schoolers are now given the option of spending time outdoors during the end of their lunch period when they finish eating.
All Saints Academy will continue to seek out the very best practices for each of our students, and we partner with our ASA families to give each child the very best in education. No matter your age, take the cue from our students, and get outdoors! It is good for the mind, body, spirit, and apparently, for your education!