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Nature-based learning

Today’s children and families often have limited opportunities to connect with the natural environment. Richard Louv called this phenomenon, ‘nature-deficit disorder’ in his book, The Last Child in the Woods, and opened the nation’s eyes to the developmental effects that nature has on our children. Louv documented how modern family life has changed dramatically in the last two decades…

In the past decade, the benefits of connecting to nature have been well documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. Collectively, this body of research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature.

From: Natural Learning Initiative "Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature"

More detail:

  • Supports multiple developmental domains.
  • Supports creativity and problem solving
  • Enhances cognitive abilities
  • Improves academic performance
  • Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms
  • Increases physical activity
  • Improves nutrition
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves social relations
  • Improves self-discipline
  • Reduces stress

Examples:

Natura Pacific: "The Intrinsic Benefits of Nature-based Education in Schools"

Web resources:

Teacher Magazine: "Nature Pedagogy - Inside, Outside and Beyond"

Natural Learning Initiative "Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature"

Head Start ECLKC: "Nature-Based Learning and Development"

NAEYC: "A World of Learning"

Application:

Nature-based learning is relevant to all ages – including into adult years. In the context of Learnlife, nature-based learning provides an essential basis in the primary years of learning. It can form a foundation for understanding sustainability issues and environmental challenges.

Learnlife also sees nature-based experiences as being an excellent environment in which to help shift the mindset of learners who may retain negative perceptions of learning due to previous school experiences – wilderness experiences to help accelerate changes in attitude and establish more positive relational capacities.