Nikos Petrou, FEE Board of Directors (LEAF)
Learning about Forests (LEAF)
HundrED has selected this innovation to
Why did you create this innovation?
The LEAF programme rests on the belief that children need to experience nature both for themselves and for society as a whole. Over half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, a fact that strengthens the need to connect with nature. A growing body of research in the education field suggests that outdoor learning has many benefits on an educational a as well as on a personal level.
How does your innovation work in practice?
The LEAF programme has the potential to transform the quality of education by engaging children in wholesome experiences instead of sedentary and unidirectional classroom teaching and learning. Working outdoors along with others also helps build interpersonal and social skills that are being challenged with the advent of technology and increasing screen time. If well designed, outdoor actions can build strong linkages with the community and can help young people experience altruistic community service and active citizenship.
LEAF encourages environmental education through awareness-raising among students, teachers, and the wider community. It instils in students a sense of ownership of their natural surroundings, rekindling in them the wonderment which woodlands and other green spaces evoke and reminding them of the important role the environment and nature play in our lives.
How has it been spreading?
The Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme is currently being implemented in 26 countries with more than 960,000 students and 43,200 teachers involved. The outdoor education programme reaches a total of 10,038 schools and has resulted in the planting of 84,243 trees worldwide.
At the Foundation for Environmental Education we would like to keep supporting the implementation of the programme worldwide, while sharing and creating educational and training resources for students, teachers and our educational programmes for educators.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
To engage with the LEAF programme, a school shall first register with a LEAF National Operator. In countries without a LEAF National Operator, International Schools can apply to join the programme through LEAF Global, which is managed through the Foundation for Environmental Education Head Office. You can check if your country has a National Operator at: www.leaf.global/national-offices.
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