You’re invited to

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont invites you and your students to join millions of teachers and children around the world in participating in a day of outdoor learning and play!

When: May 17, 2018
Who: You and your students
Where: Your Schoolyard

What: Outdoor Classroom Day is an all-day educational event that takes place at schools, parks, and in backyards all over the world! This global initiative is led by Project Dirt, in partnership with the Dirt is Good program from Unilever. In 2017, more than 2 million children from all across the globe participated in hands-on learning activities for Outdoor Classroom Day!

Why: Taking kids outside to learn can improve their social skills, problem solving skills, team working skills, and behavioral issues —not to mention, exploring and learning outside is an absolute blast!1 Research has shown that students are more motivated during outdoor lessons because they experience higher emotional engagement than they typically experience in the classroom. Experiential education often leads students to become emotionally involved with their own curiosity, resulting in a deeper connection to a topic.2 Watch this fun video by Project Wild Thing to learn more about the benefits of learning in nature.

How: Sign up to let Outdoor Classroom Day know that you and your students are taking part in this event. When signing up, select Teacher from the 3 options, choose May 17th as your event date, and fill out all of the blanks that follow. Be sure to enter in how many students you have, so that they can be included in a map that highlights the total number of participants around the globe for 2018! (See the 2017 map of participants here.)

After you sign up, explore the Resources page for activity ideas to do with your students. If you need more inspiration, check out these hands-on, standards based activities that Tremont Institute created to help teachers get their kids learning in the schoolyard! You might want to tell your students to bring an extra pair of shoes and change of clothes to school with them on May 17th, in case things get messy outside.

Outdoor Classroom Day compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you with any planning and implementation concerns.

When Outdoor Classroom Day finally arrives, be sure to document your students’ adventures in photographs and/or videos as they work and learn together! If you’d like help and tips on filming your students’ experiences, watch this video.

Share these photos and videos with your administrators and other teachers to show how much fun your students had learning outside and to inspire them to try outdoor learning with their students. Post photos or videos from your experience on social media with the hashtag #OutdoorClassroomDay to share and connect with other participants around the world!

You can also tag @TremontInstitute in your posts on Instagram or @gsmitremont in your posts on Twitter, so that we can see what exciting things are taking place in your schoolyard!

Outdoor Classroom Day. (2018). Taking Part: Why You Should Join in Our Outdoor Classroom Day. Retrieved from

James, J. K & Williams, T. (2016). School-Based Experiential Outdoor Education: A Neglected Necessity. Journal of Experiential Education, 40(1), 58-71.