The Importance of Nature-Based Learning
In Early Education
With the rise of digitization in the 21st century, researchers have found that many young children spend up to 8 hours a day engaged with screens, and only 30 minutes outside exploring in the natural world. This reliance on technology for learning and play time has caused numerous forms of health problems for children, such as social isolation, anxiety, lack of physical exercise and even depression. With many of our children growing up in a digital world, this knowledge can be quite alarming for parents – but there is hope!
With a strong commitment to the evolution of learning, the top early childhood educators have incorporated nature-based education into many preschool and elementary programs. The nature-based education movement has gained significant momentum in the past few years as parents continue to search for educational alternatives that set their children on a different path.
Research has shown that “children who frequently spend time outdoors have significantly less stress, develop enhanced sensory perception, experience fewer attention difficulties, decreased rates of physical and emotional illness and obesity, and are more likely to become lifelong outdoor participants!”
At Newtown Discovery Preschool, it is our mission to increase exploration in early education and connect children with nature. Here’s how we have incorporated nature-based education into our preschool:
- Children will be able to play various instruments in our “Music Garden” located out on the playground and paint outdoors under the “Sunbeam Hut.”
- The splash pad and water table allows for fun sensory play during the warm weather months. We will also be able to utilize the swimming pools at the NAC for a full instructional swim program.
- Children will learn how to do the following in Newtown Discovery Preschool garden:
- Plant seeds in the vegetable garden
- Practice caring for and watering flowers in the floral garden
- Observe the life cycle of a plant
- Learn the process of “farm to table” by picking fruit & veggies once they are ready in summer and incorporating the organic food into their meals
- Classes will be able to take frequent nature walks and scavenger hunts throughout the year
- Our classrooms are nature-inspired, including a bird theme for each one to encourage subliminal learning
It’s no question why many early childhood educators find nature-based education to be essential for children. The beauty of nature is worth exploring – Happy Earth Day!