A Natural Place To Learn!
Hi Everyone! It’s me Franky ready to share with you again this Friday (Black Friday here in the USA, if you’re into that sort of thing!). As we approach these colder and snowier months in the Midwest, it can be kind of hard to think about spending lots of time in the natural outdoors. Regardless, that just what I want to talk about today!
Richard Louv has sparked a lot of interest and thought in his book, Last Child in the Woods in which he discusses the concept of nature deficit disorder. He has successfully made his issues the concerns of many of us as we ponder the declining time our kids and young adults are spending outside in the woods and other natural areas.
In addition to writing this groundbreaking book, he has also created the Children & Nature Network (CN&N) to promote the need for more outdoor and natural experiences for our children. Recently the CN&N has released an e-guide (Are You a Natural Teacher?) to help teachers “put more vitamin ‘N’ into the classroom” by incorporating activities to get kids learning outside! Here are some of the suggestions they have provided:
Nature Is Everywhere! There is some kind of outdoor space nearby where teachers can take students for schoolwork or play.
School Grounds and Nearby Nature Provide a Low to No-Cost Setting! A 10-minute walk in the community can be prompt for writing or art activities, etc.
Nature Enhances Academic Achievement! Studies show that children learn more when they participate in the authentic inquiry-based lesson in the natural environment.
Nature-Based Activities Improve Student Behavior! Students who engage in authentic learning misbehave less than others.
Students are Motivated to Learn When Content is Connected to Nature! When learning takes place in their own environment, students want to find out more, read and research, and truly understand the material.
Outdoor Learning Promotes Communication! Students who participate in outdoor project-based or issue-based activities learn to communicate with their peers and community volunteers.
These are just a few of the benefits of getting outside to learn! I know I say this a lot, but it really does sound like camp would be an exceptional place for kids to learn and authentically experience their natural world! The beauty of a WeHaKee experience is that learning is happening all the time, but in the natural setting the campers often never realize just how much they are achieving!
I have been hearing more about ‘year-round schools’ and I have to wonder – might schools be better off partnering with camps to provide an already established and ‘built-in’ nature component instead of dragging kids back into the classroom during the best weather months of the year? Just saying! Camp has always been loading up kids on plenty of ‘Vitamin N’ and we know how to do it successfully!
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone!