The kind of material taught to children in early adolescent years has a significant influence on their attitudes and behaviors, but what matters most is the manner of delivery and availability of resources. An important question- Does traditional learning yield better results? Or does learning in an adventurous, exploratory way leads to greater outcomes for children in adolescent years?
Students today are confined to content that does not include real-life experiences and are often detached from the vibrant life that exists outside the classroom confines. As cliché as it might seem, learning while constricted within the same four walls daily, especially when resources are low, is less likely to lead to holistic child learning. In these changing times of vulnerability, adaptation, and uncertainty amidst the pandemic; it has become even more imperative to focus on the advantages of children learning in the rawness and creativity of nature. Children learn better when they make use of sensory and first-hand experiences while acquainting with the natural world as a precursor of environmental stewardship. Pestalozzi’s “whole-child” approach allows children to engage in learning as a transformative and sustainable process while making use of all senses and faculties (Smith, 2019)
The challenges of society today demand ecologically conscious individuals who are vigilant of their impact. Children that possess “eco-conscious” intelligence are more likely to grow up into sensitive, nature-friendly beings. In addition, Holistic eco-conscious outdoor learning has a cognitive value that helps them directly connect to nature at early years while fostering love for nature outside of technological splendor.
Eco-conscious outdoor learning has been found to improve on-campus performance, physical, mental, and social health that enables them to take charge of their surroundings, and empower generations to come. It opens avenues of spiritual learning and pro-environmental conduct. Children diagnosed with ADHD have been found to exhibit improved cognitive functioning when allowed to construe deep and first-hand, observational knowledge of the surroundings while meeting the learning objectives. Education in nature encourages calm and focus (WWU, 2018). It may also reduce the chances of obesity and eyesight disorders.
Eco-pedagogy is intrinsically rewarding for kids helping them explore what’s “novel” and what they have almost never encountered before. It educates planetary citizens to become better problem-solvers, develop improved communication, and increased sensory-motor skills while engaging with the community. It also inculcates civic behaviors and is, not surprisingly, fun and engaging for kids and their guardians.
Outdoor, eco-learning that occurs while ensuring environmental conservation rules, such as litter-free, plastic-free visits, and protection of animals, is very likely to convert young children into aware, happy children that sustainably coexist with nature!
Guest Author (anonymous contributor), Environmentalist
& Steph Powers, MSc, Licensed Counselor
Smith, D. K. (2019, June). The Whole Child: Brains, Bodies, Best Behaviors. Retrieved from Childrens Lighthouse: https://childrenslighthouse.com/oakforest/learning-wall/the-whole-child-brains-bodies-best-behaviors
WWU. (2018, August). The Benefits of a Therapeutic Nature Education Intervention for Children with ADHD. Retrieved from Western Washington University: https://cedar.wwu.edu/wwuet/763/