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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

More Open air Schools and Classes

More Open air Schools and Classes.

The tendency everywhere in Europe and Great Britain is towards more work in the open air for children of all ages. In almost all schools visited open air classes were in operation. In some cases these classes were held under structures formed of rough posts, roofed with canvas or with tarred felt, and provided with canvas or tarpaulin wind screens. Children are given certain lessons during the day in the open playground under these structures. Other open air classrooms are wooden buildings with plenty of window space. Others, again, are loggia arrangements consisting of a light roof supported on posts, with movable screening to the height of the desk.

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Everywhere the movement in favour of open air education is spreading, and the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education in England is that "the child becomes physically strengthened and mentally responsive, shows a keener aptitude to learn, and is happier for the freedom to move, to play, to search, to record, and to imagine. He has ample opportunity of learning to abhor stuffy rooms. Indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the introduction of the open air system is the condemnation of what may be called the stuffy-school-system of education."

Much of the Montessori work could be carried out in open air classrooms similar to those described above, or, in the case of country schools, under the trees.

Perhaps the day may yet come when the little children will be carried in the morning, by special trains, from the stuffy overcrowded city schools into suitably constructed open air schools outside the city, and brought back to their homes in the evening, strengthened and invigorated by fresh air, sunshine, and space in which to move and grow.