5 Reasons To Consider Outdoor Education For Children!

5 Reasons To Consider Outdoor Education For Children!

By Bobby Chen

In today’s world, children have fewer opportunities to engage with our natural environment and the outdoors. While most kids in the United States follow the standard education system, there are alternative options including outdoor classrooms that provide different benefits to young children. Here are some reasons to consider outdoor education for children: 

  1. Physical Health: Children in outdoor education programs have more opportunities to be physically active. Instead of being confined to desks for most of the school day, outdoor school allows children to have unstructured play and explore anything that captures their interest. Engaging in physical activity has been demonstrated to positively impact human health, and participating in outdoor education can also help children develop immunity to germs, playing a preventive role in averting various health concerns down the line.                                                                                                                                                     
  2. Reduced Screen Time and Social Emotional Learning: Spending time outdoors naturally reduces screen time for children. During this time, children can explore what nature has to offer. Not only can they learn about different types of plants or animals, but they also get more opportunities to interact with their peers. More peer-to-peer, face-to-face interactions, while young, allow kids to build social skills and empathy for others, which are crucial for long-term development.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  3. Life-Survival Skills and Risk Management: In today's fast-paced world, many children may not have as many opportunities to play outside. Consequently, they may miss out on learning crucial life skills that can be valuable in managing risks and understanding critical safety situations. For example, by allowing kids to jump off rocks and play with sticks, we are allowing them to discover personal safety skills and risk management abilities. In other words, sometimes you have to let a kid fall down to help them learn what they are and aren’t capable of climbing safely. Outdoor education can also teach children practical skills like identifying safe plants to eat or how to start a fire using flint and steel. These skills not only prove useful in certain survival situations but also nurture a deep love and connection with nature. When children develop this connection, they are more likely to be motivated to protect and preserve the environment as they grow older.                                                                                                                                     
  4. Character-Building: In a challenging space like an outdoor classroom, children develop problem-solving skills and learn to assess risks. This environment encourages them to take ownership of their learning journey and fosters a culture of trial and error. Additionally, students exposed to outdoor education build strong problem-solving skills, resilience, and confidence when navigating unfamiliar territory. Spending time outdoors also allows children to visualize and put into perspective the impact of littering and neglecting recycling, prompting them to take responsibility for their actions. These valuable traits empower children to embrace life's opportunities with enthusiasm and seize any opportunity that sparks their curiosity.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  5. Fun: Learning outdoors is fun. From playing tag to being curious about the bugs in the grass, children are natural outdoor enthusiasts. While many kids groan at the thought of homework or in-class activities, they always seem to have energy for running around and playing outside. By integrating fun activities into their schedules, not only will they not resent learning, but they will become enthusiastic about it. The key to successful learning is ensuring it is enjoyable, so children don't experience burnout or develop resentment.

As guardians, our children are of utmost importance; from their health to their character to their education, it is our responsibility to ensure they are given the opportunities and resources to thrive. While there are numerous effective approaches to nurturing a healthy and happy child, outdoor school education is an option often unknown or overlooked by many. With its many benefits and distinctive classroom structure, outdoor education offers a valuable opportunity that many should consider.

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