SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One state lawmaker wants students to get outside and get some fresh air while in school. The sponsor, Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill (D- Silver City) said New Mexico is rich in its natural environment and wildlife and wants to use that to student’s advantage.
“Research indicates that being outside in nature promotes emotional and physical wellbeing which is so important now during this pandemic,” said Sen. Correa Hemphill. If passed, this memorial would create a task force to look into the idea of outdoor classrooms and how New Mexico schools could get students outside while learning.
The memorial said outdoor classrooms would allow students to develop independence, creativity, and even better behavior that could lead to better test scores. The memorial also adds that outdoor classrooms have been used across the U.S. during the pandemic and could be a solution to having a safe and distanced classroom, giving students the ability to learn in-person. Students from across the state spoke out in favor of this, saying it’s beneficial to get out of the traditional classroom setting.
“I can tell you that outdoor classrooms are important because as a student I know for a fact working in small classrooms with no fresh air and a pile of work in front of you can be stressful and uncomfortable,” said a fifth-grade student, Erin. “Having an outdoor day once or twice a week would be a relief.”
“I believe the use of outdoor classrooms would be beneficial to people like me who want to learn in person during a pandemic,” said ninth-grade student Elijah Valdez.
The memorial passed the Senate Rules Committee unanimously. It now heads to the Senate Education Committee. The memorial also wants Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare an ‘Outdoor Learning Day’ this year.