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The Regional Center of Excellence in Education for the Sustainable Development of the Metropolitan Area of Porto (CRE.Porto), a network composed of public and private entities, coordinated by the Metropolitan Area of Porto and the Catholic University of Portugal, launches the project “Nature is the best Classroom” (NSA) with the aim of fostering learning outside the classroom and in full contact with nature
This type of learning is a growing methodology in schools, worldwide, and which benefits for the physical, psychological and social development of children and young people are recognized. Originating in Denmark and Sweden in the 1950s, the so-called “Education in Nature” currently covers thousands of children around the world. In Portugal, the first steps in this direction began to be taken in 2017, with the emergence of projects based on the pedagogical model of the Forest School.
The NSA project, which started in 2018/2019 and is currently in its third edition, has challenged teachers from various educational contexts to take students, from pre-school to high school, out of classrooms. classroom and to look for new ways of teaching/learning in nature. As a result, in this edition, 78 teachers from 43 schools in 17 municipalities of AMP implement the “Education in Nature” methodology, involving more than 1500 students in nature classes.
The benefits of education in nature are several. In nature, there is a myriad of stimuli, challenges and pedagogical resources necessary to educate children and young people in an integral, autonomous, stimulating and positive way. A teaching methodology harmonized with nature aims to fill a gap that is commonly associated with today’s societies, in which children and young people spend less and less time outdoors, which has led to an evident increase in children’s inactivity.