The many benefits of outside time in school

Today’s guest blogger is Mary Wright

The article How Access to Nature During the School Year Can Help Students Thrive is about getting students outside during the school day and reconnecting them with nature. It connects the rise of obesity and the increase of psychological and academic problems with a decline in outdoor time and an increase in screen time. The article goes on to discuss the benefits of being outside some of which, according to Cathy Jordan, the research director for the Children and Nature Network, are that “Exposure to nature contributes to ‘emotional restoration, decreases stress, can decrease symptoms of anxiety, can elevate mood’”. In addition to the cognitive benefits being out in nature has physical and social benefits as well. Physically being in bright sunlight can actually prevent nearsightedness. Socially when children spend time outdoors they tend to work collaboratively and communicate more than they normally would in a classroom setting. Additionally they learn to respect the people and things around them and can relate to them better.

This article also shows how teachers can “make use of the natural surroundings for interdisciplinary projects”, connecting science to history to literature all from a lesson about trees. It discusses letting students be creative and get messy and the “controlled uncontrolled experience” that being outside can give them, but only of teachers take the initiative to get started.

 I think this news will affect young children and their families by showing parents how important it is to get their children off the screens and out in nature. I think if people realize how beneficial being outside is to children they will be more likely to take their children outside. Additionally I believe that they will find being outside not only benefits children, but adults as well. We will all be healthier and happier if we spend less time on our screens and more time connecting with the world around us.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education by getting more teachers to step up and take the initiative to start outdoor programs at their schools. Being outside will help children to be better students and give them a greater understanding of the world around them which in the long run can only be beneficial to us all.

by Mary Wright



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