According to a study by the American Institute of Research, students performed better in school when their curriculum included outdoor education. The study reports that students who enjoyed outdoor education experienced increased standardized test scores, enhanced attitude about school, improved in-school behavior, improved attendance, and overall enhanced student achievement.
Nature is necessary for a child’s well-being—it nurtures their imagination, uplifts the senses, and promotes happiness and productivity. By heading outside and learning in nature, kids improve their emotional, intellectual, and behavioral development. Outdoor learning helps foster the development of creativity, problem-solving, independence, and confidence. They can use their curious minds to explore their environment instead of being restricted to the regimented classroom structure.
When children spend time outside, they’re getting physical activity, vitamin D, and fresh air. It’s extremely beneficial to their physical and mental health. England’s National Children’s Bureau performed a comprehensive study on the importance of nature play and outdoor learning. The results indicated that “the powerful combination of a diversity of play experiences and direct contact with nature has direct benefits for children’s physical, mental, and emotional health.”
Studies compiled by the Children and Nature Network (C&NN) show that daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus, enhancing cognitive skills. Additionally, a study from the University of Illinois’ Landscape and Human Health Laboratory discovered that access to nature decreases the symptoms of ADHD in children. Outdoor learning has also been shown to reduce stress and improve sleep, according to research from the National Wildlife Federation.
Outdoor learning gives children the ability to apply concepts learned inside the classroom to the real world. When a child’s curriculum includes natural learning, they get to explore nature, connect classroom lessons to the outdoors, and expand their practical knowledge. When kids engage with their environment firsthand, they get the opportunity to develop a respect for their surroundings, the chance to nurture a passion for the land, water, animals, and plants, and the ability to better understand their place in the natural world. These are all formative practical experiences that complement what children learn in the classroom—and help foster a child’s enthusiasm for learning.
A PK-6 curriculum connecting nature and neighborhood to classroom study across grade levels.
Designed to be implemented anywhere from your backyard, schoolyard, or the local park, Me Among the Trees™ is a nature-based curriculum steeped in anti-bias anti-racist values of identity, diversity, justice, and activism.
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