Children are born with a natural curiosity to learn about the world around them. As a parent or educator, building upon their natural desire to learn will help in a child’s overall development. Part of a valuable learning experience is exposing children to nature. Being outdoors or bringing nature items indoors has numerous benefits. For young minds, the potential learning opportunities are endless.
Learning in Nature
Indoor classrooms have limits for the safety of the children. Introducing children to an outdoor environment has fewer restrictions. Encouraging children to run, skip, hop, and simply play brings numerous benefits to each child’s development.
- Encourages Creativity and Imagination: Being outdoors allows children to approach the natural environment in different ways. The interaction provides children a chance to engage in physical activity. As children begin to explore the different smells, textures, and hear various natural sounds, the endless world of imagination and creativity about the environment will follow.
- Allows for Additional Learning: The natural curiosity about the outdoor surroundings encourages children to ask questions. Responsible caregivers will build upon the questions, providing more opportunities to learn.
- Promotes Autonomy: As children explore, a sense of independence develops, thereby providing children with the confidence to learn about the various aspects nature has to offer. Fostering a sense of independence will help children grow in future academics.
- Encourages Personal Responsibility: As children learn about the environment, personal responsibility develops. Learning how the living world works will allow children to view consequences.
- Development of Fine and Large Motor Skills: Being outdoors allows children to engage in physical activity which aids in the development of large motor skills. Just as important, the outdoor environment provides children a chance to develop fine motor skills. Picking up small stones, acorns, or sticks for further exploration requires the use of fine motor skills or simple hand movement. Establishing a foundation for further learning, building fine motor skills helps in hand/eye coordination. Later, the skill will develop into the ability to write.
- Develops Social Skills: Being outdoors in a group of peers provides numerous opportunities for interaction with others. Sharing discoveries, discussing the environment, or simply engaging in creative play develops valuable social skills. The interaction provides opportunities to build vocabulary, learn from peers, and self-regulation to rules.
- Encourages Fun: Like adults, children are often subject to busy schedules. Spending time outdoors reduces stress from everyday commitments. Outdoors, children engage in self-directed learning. Having the opportunity to explore the outdoors is fun.
Being outdoors allows children to grow physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. As they explore, children learn to discuss their personal experiences, providing teachers and parents a chance to find additional materials. Children will use their natural curiosity to continue learning. Exploring the outdoor world allows children the opportunity to appreciate the natural environment.
At Montessori Childrens House, we incorporate nature and outdoor learning into our Montessori approach. We encourage students to discover and explore on their own. Contact us today to see the Montessori difference!