Outside Atlanta, after returning from a class hike through the woods, an excited six-year-old grabbed his head and said, “There’s so much nature and I only have two eyes and one brain and I think it’s going to explode!”
This child attends the Chattahootchee Hills Charter School, which is a nature-based school at which students spend about a third of their time learning outdoors. In countries such as Finland these types of outdoor schools are common and as a result Finnish schools scores in math, science, and reading have consistently been at or near the top of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Despite the widespread reporting about Finland’s success, the majority of America’s have gone in the opposite direction by reducing recess, lessening field trips, lengthening the hours sitting at desks, using more computers, and administering more tests
Green schools are growing into a strong counter trend — as even some technologists question the underlying assumptions leading us to techno-overkill. There’s growing demand for green schools. The number of nature-based preschools and schools to are on the rise, as are school gardens and nature-based play spaces in elementary and even high schools.
Evidence supporting nature-based, place-based education or experiential learning (as this approach is variously called) has been building for decades. It is also important to note that a purely natural setting isn’t required. This learning method can be used in a forest or in an urban neighborhood, especially if it’s graced with a little nature.
To see the full article by Richard Louv posted on the Children and Nature Network website, click here.
To see the CBS This Morning news piece on the Chattahoochee Hillls Charter School, click here.