Outdoor school to develop children’s full potential
There are a few schools that allow children to develop fully. The method of learning is essential, but it must be accompanied by a conducive environment. The outdoor school brings together all these characteristics.
Too formal education?
Today’s education is a system of theoretical learning that puts students in competition with each other. Students, therefore, feel a great deal of pressure and do not necessarily gain self-confidence during their schooling. However, the principle of education is to provide young people with knowledge and skills so that they can develop and find their place in society. But, sitting in classrooms for hours on end, their environment is not conducive to this. At the same time, the younger generation is criticized for being disconnected, because they are “too connected” to the screens. Yet, to be hardly exposed to nature is potentially suffering from Richard Louv’s (2005) “nature deficit disorder”.
Children are the first to be affected by this disorder, and their creativity and cognitive development are diminished as a result. And the confinement induced by the current health crisis keeps reminding us of the importance of nature for our well-being.
So, how do we get children to reconnect with nature and enjoy its benefits? There should be schools right in nature.
Outdoor education dates back to the 20th century. The current concept of “forest schools” is inspired by a Scandinavian model which consists of combining school subjects with activities in nature. These schools are located in nurseries. The association of forest schools has more than 2000 members and 10,000 teachers. There are also conventional schools that offer outdoor programs, with outdoor classes, a garden, and vegetable garden available. This concept, already developed in the United Kingdom, is gaining more and more support around the world.
The growing success of forestry schools is easy to understand. These schools provide children with an enriching and stimulating learning environment, making it easier for them to pay attention and learn in an environment they enjoy, and making school less tedious. In addition to academic learning, Katherine Mycock’s study shows that this form of schooling allows children to develop, grow, and acquire skills. The daily presence of nature improves their cognitive skills as well as their physical and mental health. These students gain self-confidence, which makes them more independent, creative, and sociable. Growing up in such a setting offers them a sense of freedom and constant discovery, they are more relaxed and less sedentary. These schools also create special contact between humans and nature, where children develop environmental awareness from a very early age.
“Nature breeds curiosity; it helps grow explorers rather than robots. Planting things connects us viscerally with the soil, the plants, and the animals. It reminds us that we are part of something bigger. It grounds us, calms us,” says Palmer-Fry, an outdoor teacher.
Photo Credits: Alexander Dummer / Unsplash; Annie Spratt / Unsplash
Sources: The Conversation, Trees for cities, Positive News
Encourage us if you like positive stories!