As parents around the country purchase new pencils and backpacks, they may be surprised to learn “nature” is one more thing they should put on the back-to-school supply list. According to a new report by National Wildlife Federation, Back to School: Back Outside, time spent outdoors both during school and at home helps children become high-performance learners and score higher on standard tests.
Unfortunately, American children spend only minutes a day playing and learning outdoors which presents a new educational challenge for our country. The report examines the impact of outdoor and environmental education, outdoor time and nature study on student motivation, effectiveness at learning, classroom behavior, focus and standardized test scores. “Back-to-school time is traditionally time to come indoors and ‘hit the books,’ but to foster the focus and motivation needed to succeed academically, kids need to include outdoor time as part of their daily routine, either at school or home or both. The evidence in favor of nature as an educational tool is compelling but may be underappreciated by teachers and parents,” said Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training for the National Wildlife Federation and author of the Back-to-School report.
As demonstrated in the report, outdoor time is connected with wide-ranging academic benefits including; · improved classroom behavior,
· increased student motivation and enthusiasm to learn,
· better performance in math, science, reading and social studies, · reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),
· higher scores on standardized tests (including college entrance exams), · help under-resourced, low-income students perform measurably better in school.
Some teachers don’t need convincing. A spring 2010 survey of 1900 educators by the National Wildlife Federation found that: · 78 percent believe children who spend regular time in unstructured outdoor play are better able to concentrate and...
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