Wild School Grounds

January 17, 2011

 

The Children and Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org) showcases a list of research publications which highlight the reasons why nature is good for children.

One research study has stated that naturalised school grounds enhance creativity, self-discipline, health and academic achievement. In a report sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada entitled “Grounds for Action” authors Anne Bell and Janet Dyment have found that school gardens, which include trees, native plants, and areas for food growing, invite children to be more physically active, while developing their imagination and social interaction.

Naturalised school gardens offer choice and creativity. Organically informed school grounds facilitate children’s involvement in their care, and also encourage artistic expression as children represent their experiences through nature journals, creative writing, sketching, painting and making sculptures from natural materials. The authors also state that nature enhances learning – ecologically minded school grounds promote increased concentration and cognitive development.

School gardens which incorporate areas of biodiversity invigorate not only the local environment, but the stimulation of ideas – about sustainability, patterns of growth and change, and the shaping of space and community participation. Forest gardens in particular promote edible landscapes that are interactive, they teach children about how to work together to create a place not only for nature, but for themselves and their community, where everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labour.