It’s crucial for children to explore a variety of learning environments, especially when they’re young. Since lots of children across the country have limited, or no access to a safe outdoor environment in which they can play and learn, many schools incorporate outdoor learning into their curriculum.
Parents should also try and encourage it on weekends and during school holidays, by taking their kids to the park, woods, or beach.
It’s really important to instil healthy habits from a young age to give children the best start in life, as well as encourage a passion for healthy living right through to adulthood.
A prep school in the South West explores the benefits of outdoor education below.
Nowadays, parents are becoming increasingly more concerned with the amount of time their children are spending on digital devices.
Something as simple as a walk in the park can really help to alleviate any of the health issues associated with prolonged use of smartphones and other technology.
Outdoor play is great for physical fitness
One of the main advantages of outdoor learning is that it’s great for a child’s physical and mental health.
It’s not natural to sit at a desk all day; we humans need to stretch our bodies and get some exercise.
Consequently, outdoor learning can help reduce the likelihood of childhood obesity and enhance general fitness.
What’s more, children who are exposed to the sounds of nature and who breathe in fresh air will experience a rise in the release of serotonin due to increased oxygen.
Outdoor play can make kids happier
Exercising outdoors increases the production of endorphins. Serotonin and endorphins are mood boosters, helping children feel less anxious or angry, and generally just a lot calmer.
Of course, there are other benefits to outdoor education that aren’t just associated with a child’s health, such as increased ability to retain information that they have learnt in the classroom and generally just have a heightened understanding of the world around them.
This is the reason why many schools not only offer standard Physical Education (P.E) lessons outdoors, but other outdoor learning environments such as Forest School have risen in popularity in recent years, especially in primary schools.
Outdoor play can boost brainpower
Outdoor playing can help to stimulate the brain, just as listening to classical music for studying can boost your brainpower, outdoor play has positive effects on children’s brain development too.
“The positive effects of nature exposure include improved cognitive functioning (including increased concentration, greater attention capacities, and higher academic performance), better motor coordination, reduced stress levels, increased social interaction with adults and other children, and improved social skills.” – Study
There are numerous benefits to outdoor education in schools for children and it’s something that parents and carers should also model at home.
If you don’t have sufficient outdoor space at your home, ensure you take your children outdoors after school and at weekends. Even an after-dinner walk around the block is a great way to get some light exercise and fresh air!
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