Being in the great outdoors provides many benefits. It boosts our immune system, enhances creativity, provides us with an essential dose of vitamin d and it can even boost overall happiness. Mother Nature is in fact so powerful that it can even provide educational benefits to young children.
It encourages them to broaden their horizons
As Roald Dahl once said:
“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.”
By taking children out of their familiar surroundings and putting them in a new environment, you’re encouraging them to challenge themselves and take risks. The younger we are when we’re exposed to this type of thinking, the more likely we are to continue these behaviours through adult life.
As well as becoming increasingly open to new ways of thinking and doing things, outdoor learning promotes inquisitive thinking and helps children to develop problem-solving skills in real-life situations.
Exposure to the real world
As much as we would love to protect our kids from the dangers of the real world forever, it’s important to teach them how to deal with difficult situations so they know how to take care of themselves.
Outdoor learning helps children to develop resilience, become more adaptable in occasionally adverse circumstances and learn how to identify hazards and risks. These skills can really help to improve a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
It develops respect for nature
One of the greatest benefits of outdoor learning is how it helps children to develop love, appreciation and respect for nature. It also enables us to teach them how to look after our environment and develop a lifelong love of the great outdoors – something which is beneficial to both our physical and mental health.
It encourages team work
At Tigers, we have plenty of outdoor space with play houses, growing gardens, toys, messy play areas and a huge wild garden which enables our children to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. If a child wishes to play independently that is perfectly fine but a lot of our outdoor activities encourages group work. This is an excellent way to encourage collaborative working and improve communication skills.
It leads to better health
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that outdoor education could be a key factor when it comes to avoiding childhood obesity and mental health problems.
As a result of his work, the author, Richard Louv, coined the phrase ‘nature-deficit disorder.’ This phrase is used to describe the harmful effects that too much indoor over-stimulation can have on youngsters which can lead to attention-deficit disorder, anxiety, depression and obesity.
“As young people spend less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow physiologically and psychologically, and we deny them access to a fundamental part of their humanity.”
You can find out more about the study by following the link: https://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2012/11-proven-benefits-of-outdoor-learning/
Other benefits of outdoor learning include:
• It helps children to recall information better than if they’re simply reading from a book
• Exposure to nature reduces stress and anxiety, helps to elevate mood and helps with emotion
•It encourages physical activity
•Sunlight is necessary for the eyes to develop properly and exposure to it lowers the risk of near-sightedness
•It provides hands-on learning which helps to develop the senses
If you would like more information about the benefits of outdoor learning and how we incorporate this into our teaching at Tigers Day Nurseries, please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help.