Schools is the place where children spend about one forth of their student life. Hence contact with nature has great effect on the psyche of growing minds as has been revealed by a research done by professor Louise Chawla of CU-Boulder.
Playing in school yards with natural habitats and trees has a positive effect on a child’s well-being and social and emotional balance. More over children who grow near natural habitat have better attention capacity. Among the children interviewed, 96 percent of those within first through fourth grades chose to play in nature even when they had the option of going to a playground or to an athletic field. Since in the natural surrounding, the kids can freely engaged in exploratory and sensory-based activities. A little older children could cooperatively organize activities like building forts and trading found objects which they found exciting.
According to this thesis in the journal Health & Place
gardening assignments in such settings also produces stress-reducing benefits for children who feel burdened by education.
Although schools offer stress management programs, in which they teach individuals on how to deal with stress. But wouldn’t it be nice if they created and environment which is stress-reducing feels Louise Chawla.
Schools offer stress management programs, in which they teach individuals on how to deal with stress. But wouldn’t it be nice if they created and environment which is stress-reducing feels Louise Chawla.
The research found that natural-terrain like dirt, scrub oak and water features in the schoolyards, foster supportive relationships and feelings of competence. Hence even artificial natural-habitat landscaping in schoolyard can have positive impacts on children.
This research consists of more than twelve hundred hours of observation. Students, teachers, parents and alumni were interviewed and their answers were coded with keywords for the research. Twenty-five percent of the students described the green area as “peaceful” or “calm” after an assignment on nature.
Among the little older teenage participants, the reaction was that of feeling connected to a natural living system; successfully caring for living things; and having time for quiet self-reflection.
For schools interested in providing natural habitats for students creating joint-use agreements with city parks and open space can be a possible solution, as Chawla suggested.