A lot of teachers want to offer their students experiences in the natural world, but because of strictures on curriculum, the prevalence of standardized tests, and other challenges, encounters with nature can fall into the category of “nice but not necessary.”
But we know from a plethora of research that we humans desperately need that connection to nature to be healthier and happier. Tamra Willis from the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) recently shared “10 Reasons to Take Your Students Outside,” which offers 10 great reasons to regularly engage students with the natural world, and includes links to research to back up each statement — something specific you can bring to your administrator as evidence for why your students spending so much time outside is not only nice, but vital to their well-being and academic performance. The 10 reasons:
- Nature is everywhere!
- School grounds and nearby nature provide a low- to no-cost setting for effective teaching.
- Nature enhances academic achievement.
- Nature-based activities improve student behavior.
- Students are motivated to learn when content is connected to nature.
- Outdoor learning promotes communication.
- Students improve cooperation skills when they spend time outside.
- Nature helps students focus, including ADHD students.
- Students are healthier and happier when they spend time outside.
- School grounds and nearby nature provide a wonderful setting for curricular integration.
If you need some ideas for what to do outside, check out this C&NN post that offers ideas for nature-centric projects, and browse our free downloadable activities for suggestions.
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