Updated: Dec 1, 2021
"The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable" - Richard Louv
As an educator, I have witnessed the enormous benefits of children being in the outdoors. It amazes me to see two years old kids climbing rocks and evaluating how safe or dangerous their next steps can be. It melts my heart seeing preschoolers building a stick house for a worm, so a hawk does not eat it. I'm at awe at my student's creativity when they imagine a willow tree as a castle they have to protect and care. I am impressed by the positive impact that spending time in the outdoors has in our children.
The benefits of outdoor learning are countless, but I would like to share with you the most significant ones.
Outdoor learning offers the opportunity for children to learn through their sensory and physical experiences which provides positive both physically and mentally benefits and assist gross and fine-motor development.
According to the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, outdoor learning supports the development of healthy and active life style, supports children's problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, imagination and inventiveness (2009). Children who spend time playing and learning in a natural environment are absorbed by the colors, textures, smells, shapes and all the stimulating components found in a forest, beach, park, etc.
The English Outdoor Council points that outdoor learning helps to develop self esteem, personal responsibility, and respect the needs of others. Children learn to interact with other peers developing social skills like team-work and co-operation.
O. Wilson (Harvard University scientist) points that "the positive effects of involvement with nature on health, concentration, creative play, and a developing bond with the natural world can form a foundation for environmental stewardship" Playing and learning outside helps children to understand and respect nature. Through outdoor learning, nature is not anymore unknown or scaring but a place full of wonder and "million" of things to be discovered.
Every child deserves the opportunity to play and learn in their natural environment.
Stay connected for more information about the amazing world of learning in nature.
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