A recent study has reported four out of five parents believe camping has a positive effect on their children’s education, with 59% agreeing it should be added to the national curriculum. 

The study, carried out by The Camping and Caravanning Club, revealed that Geography, History and Science were subject areas most likely to be positively affected by nights under canvas, a result of children experiencing time closer to nature. 

The study also revealed that one in three adult campers believe that children are happier when camping, and 64% agreed camping trips can improve a child’s social skills and mental health. 

Reactions supporting the study

The Woodland Trust, a campaigner on the benefits of children spending time and learning outdoors, commented that time in nature, including camping, helps students develop social skills as well as boosts their self-esteem and confidence.

Karen Letten, Woodland Trust schools communications manager, commented: “Learning outdoors will offer children incredible environmental experiences and lets them see for themselves the value of nature and wildlife – values we hope they take with them for the rest of their lives.”

Looking at the wider sphere of residentials, the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) reported that it welcomed 4,158 schools and youth groups to a residential in 2016/17. A recent survey it conducted showed 99% of teachers felt young people went home more confident in their own abilities and two-thirds went home more willing to try new things.

James Blake, chief executive of YHA (England and Wales), commented: “We are determined to help change the lives of young people who need and will benefit from our support the most… We know, for instance, that residential school trips help young people achieve more academically at school, increases their attendance record and enhances their relationship with their peers.”

Other organisations which support the study include The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which gives many students the chance to learn valuable skills (such as putting up a tent) and share life-changing experiences.

Peter Westgarth, chief executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides a way for youngsters to explore the great outdoors, be it through walking expeditions or other physical activities such as cycling and canoeing. Either way, they get fit, have fun and acquire key life skills including self-confidence and independence.”

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