Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher, It is a purposeful and planned approach that uses resources and activities to enhance learning, environmental awareness, mental health, and well-being. This can be done on school on school trips and grounds. It provides an engaging and stimulating approach to learning. Taking learning outdoors can have significance on learning and development, from enhancing skills like communication, and problem-solving to resilience and offering opportunities like experimental and contextual learning.

We all must have the faint notion that the outdoors offers more benefits than being stuck indoors. However, we are not aware of the benefits of outdoor education. So, how does outdoor education improves learning? There are proven social, psychological, and academic advantages to taking learning outside. Similarly, there are drawbacks to not doing so. The benefits of high-quality outdoor learning experiences quickly become apparent when the children are allowed to take part in risk-assessed, but not risk-free activities. Here are a few benefits of outdoor education.

Outdoor Education Boosts Academic Performance

Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher
Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher

A study Effects of outdoor education programs for children in California focuses on 255 children in four primary schools. One group was given a routine of outdoor education. The study found that those who attended outdoor school raised their examination score by 27%. Children who attended the outdoor education programs received a significantly higher rating in case of behavior in class, problem-solving skills, conflict resolution, self-esteem, and relationship with peers than those who were not part of the outdoor education group. So, along with higher grades, outdoor learning boosts personal and social skills. A positive attitude towards school helps with the overall development of children.

Connects to Nature

Are you familiar with the ‘nature deficit disorder’? We as humans have a natural biophilic tendency which means an innate desire to seek an association with nature. When we are deprived of this, we might face some negative outcomes. According to research, this disorder can include diminished use of the senses, difficulties in concentration, and higher rates of emotional and physical illness. Learning outdoors can also motivate kids to become more physically active in their free time. It is a great tool in fighting the risk of childhood obesity.

Improves Mental Health

Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher
Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher

Venturing outside of the classroom for a new way of learning is essential to develop self-esteem. Having the confidence to accept change and try something new is vital for a healthy mind and body. When children are outside, they engage with their exploratory instincts. Exploration helps to increase self-esteem. Moreover, being outside around nature helps to reduce feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety. According to Wells, and Evans, “green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children”. Outdoor learning is as fun as usual learning. An alteration in routine can help to reignite enthusiasm for learning for children. A change in surroundings is always positive.

Improves Physical Health

Just like mental health, spending time outside also provides a positive effect on physical health. Learning outside aid the development of motor skills and offers the mind and body time to absorb fresh air which reduces tiredness and headaches. It provides beneficial exposure to the sun and Vitamin D can improve balance and coordination. Moreover, the opportunity to stay active while learning can help with burning some energy and help to prevent illness among children.

Outdoor Education Builds Community

Outdoor education allows students to see they are a part of the whole. When students explore their local environment, it offers them an awareness and appreciation for their community. This causes them to act more consciously. Such as, perhaps watching a polluted stream will make them stop or at least think twice before dumping things. Not only that, they can inspire and stop others in the community.

Problem-Solving

Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher
Outdoor Education: Why Nature is a Powerful Teacher

For children, life may often appear black and white. Sadly, the real world does not exist like that, especially if we are talking about environmental issues. It is essential for students to learn critical thinking skills to help society solve abundant issues which have no correct answer. Students must know as a citizen their viewpoints and debate issues such as endangered species, global warming, and land use matters. Learning more about these issues will help them to understand and know more about real-world issues in the future.

Also Read: Role of Education in Promoting Social Justice and Equality

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