Learning in the Natural World
At Friends’ Central School, we have long understood the deep connection between outdoor activities and indoor achievement. Our rolling, green 18-acre Lower School campus with an extensive organic farm, chickens, playgrounds, fields, trees, ponds, and a bird blind, is nature’s classroom. As they are playing and learning outdoors, our students are also developing cognitive, physical, and psychological gains they will need to succeed in our challenging academic environment.
For over 170 years, Friends’ Central educators have celebrated the connection between mind, body, spirit, and the natural world. The time and freedom our Nursery through grade 5 students are given to connect to one another and to the natural world are profoundly important to their well-being. Whether inventing their own games, working in the garden, catching tadpoles, or listening to bird calls in the woods, Friends’ Central Lower School students are soaking in the joys and benefits of time in nature.
Increasingly, science tells us that a child’s physical and mental health are affected by a connection, or lack of connection, to the natural world. Yet, as we raise and educate our children, many of us are living lives that are more and more distant from that connection. This gradual slide away from nature is taking a toll on our kids, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Access to green spaces and expanses are physically calming and inspire open minds. Studies show that the very academic skills we aspire to for our children are enhanced by time outdoors, where creativity, cooperation, problem-solving, and focus are all stimulated. In fact, the gains may be deeper and have a positive impact on areas as seemingly unrelated as language arts and social studies