How Students Can Benefit From Outdoor Learning
Nearly half of all students feel bored at school every day with half of the students admitting to skipping school at least once or twice according to a study conducted by the Indiana State University in 2014. The research found that a staggering 20% of students considered dropping out of school entirely. Boredom is a common by-product of the traditional schooling system and affects children of all ages. It has become increasingly important for teaching staff to find innovative ways in which to present their classes to ensure that their students remain interested and focused.
The development of Forest Schools originated in 1993 and is based on a Scandinavian principle that recognizes how important it is for children to come into contact with nature. Forest schools take standard learning activities outdoors for part of the day and may involve exploring the woods collecting treasures, starting a garden or creating a compost bin, building a camp or simply taking your normal lessons away from the classroom and outdoors for the day. Many school across the USA have added aspects of Forest schooling to their curriculum with an increasing number of organisations also pledging their involvement towards spreading awareness.
It builds confidence and improves social skills
Forest schools help children grow in confidence as a direct result of the time, freedom and space they are given as they are learning. This allows each individual child to demonstrate a level of independence at this/her own rate. Activities such as those that include the sharing of tools and participating in structured play encourages children to work together as a group, strengthening their bonds with their peers and fortifying social ties.
Improves communication, motivation and concentration
Forest schools provide sensory experiences that help boost language development. Improving the communication skills of a child has a very positive effect on his self-esteem and is a crucial part of his development. High levels of interest may lead to high levels on attention and spending time outdoors generally triggers a lot of interest in children. Children that are fascinated by nature develop a strong will to participate and are able to concentrate for long periods of time.
Boosted physical skills, knowledge and understanding
An increase in outdoor activity is bound to have a positive physical impact. Stamina is improved, a healthy weight is maintained and gross and fine motor skills are improved. Forest schools entice children to develop respect for their environment and interest in the great outdoors. By instilling a respect for nature in children it helps to protect the environment for generations to come.
Forest schools are fun. They are also educational while allowing children to explore, discover and play. Children who participate in Forest schools tend to be more content than those who don’t. Nothing beats fresh air, exercise and excitement to turn even the most demure child into a happy, carefree one.