In this study, the responses of teachers and their pupils to the educational programme "Nature on the Way to School" were investigated with the help of questionnaires. The main objectives of the programme were the promotion of opportunities for children to experience nature first‐hand on the way to school, the promotion of children's awareness of nature in their daily lives, and the promotion of interest in and tolerance of local plants and animals. More than 3000 children (8-16 years old) from 166 primary and secondary school classes in Switzerland and 117 teachers participated in the study. Children of all age groups particularly enjoyed observing nature directly. Teachers gave the programme very high ratings on average. The ratings given by the teachers and the learning gains of the pupils were positively related. Teachers from rural and urban areas carried out similar activities during the programme and regarded the programme as a success. The high satisfaction of both pupils and their teachers with the programme supports the thesis that teachers should make more use of educational approaches focusing on direct experiences in the local environment of children.